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Submission + - ACTA Makes Its Way to the EU Parliament (laquadrature.net)

jrepin writes: "After the huge online protests against the extremist SOPA and PIPA copyright bills discussed in the United States, the EU Parliament starts working on their global counterpart: ACTA, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement. Citizens across Europe must push back against this illegitimate agreement bound to undermine free speech online, access to knowledge and innovation worldwide. Tomorrow, the EU Parliament “development” committee (DEVE) will hold its first debate on its draft opinion report on ACTA, presented by its rapporteur Jan Zahradil, a conservative, euro-skeptic representative from the Czech Republic. This disastrous draft opinion report is deceptive and tries to justify extremist repressive measures to protect the outdated regime of copyright, patents and trademarks."

Submission + - Nokia sells more than 450 patents (theregister.co.uk)

dokc writes: Patent licensing outfit Sisvel has acquired 450 patents from Nokia, 350 of which are essential for mobile telephony, but despite appearances this is no desperate attempt to borrow cash from the future.

The patents include 350 which are considered "essential", in that it is impossible to create mobile phones conforming to 2G, 3G and/or 4G telephony standards without infringing them. But as such they are also subject to Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing – hardly the sort of thing a patent troll would be interested in.


Submission + - MRI Powered Pill-Sized Robot Swims Through Intesti (singularityhub.com)

kkleiner writes: "Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston have collaborated to create a robot that can swim through the intestines. The size of a large pill, the “microswimmer” is powered by the strong magnetic fields generated by an MRI machine. A tail measuring 20mm x 5mm made of copper and flexible polymer vibrates due to the magnets and propels the little microrobot through the gut."

Submission + - Film Turns Windows Into Solar Panels (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "At the Ceatec electronics conference in Japan this week, 3M is showing film that turns windows into solar panels. Although the product only generates about 20% of the electricity of a traditional solar panel, it will cost about half as much, is much easier to install, and takes up no additional space. 'An average person could go to the store, buy some of this, and then bring it home and install it themselves,' said Yasuhiro Aoyagi, a senior manager in the company's construction markets division."

Submission + - Ubuntu 11.10 Down to 12-Second Boot (crn.com)

deadeyefred writes: Even though it's still only in alpha, it appears as though the forthcoming version of Ubuntu, version 11.10, will be much faster than earlier versions according to this story. It looks as if the switch from GDM to LightDM will have a significant impact as Ubuntu gets closer to "instant on" status.

Submission + - Twitter bot wins social bot competition

An anonymous reader writes: The Web Ecology Project have run the first ever competion to test the large scale robotic influence of online social groups. Teams programed bots to control Twitter accounts in a brutal, two-week, all-out, no-holds-barred battle to influence an unsuspecting cluster of 500 online users. Points were given for connections created by the bots and the social behaviors they are able to elicit among the targets. Three teams took part in the competion with $500 prize money. After a week the teams were allowed to fine-tune their bot's programming and launch secondary bots to take down their competitors, with JamesMTitus being targeted by a British secondary bot. When one user confronted it, the JamesMTitus gave vague responses, such as "Right on bro", evading detection. The bot, programmed by a group of New Zealanders, garnered 109 followers in two weeks, winning the competition.

Submission + - Chrome helps Firefox top IE across Europe (pcpro.co.uk)

nk497 writes: Firefox is now the leading browser across Europe, thanks mostly to Chrome, according to StatCounter. The Mozilla browser now holds 38.11% of European market share, over IE's 37.52%. Internet Explorer is down more than 7% over the past year, but Firefox also slid slightly. Chrome, on the other hand, is up to 14.58% from 5.06%. Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, said: "This appears to be happening because Google's Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share."

Submission + - Google add bicycle directions to maps (blogspot.com)

c++0xFF writes: In response to online petitions, Google has launched bicycle directions on its popular mapping web site. The enhancements include an overlay with trails and bike paths, and the directions take into account hills and traffic.

Will this encourage more people to commute on bicycle or to enjoy the outdoors?

Submission + - Key Letter by Descartes, Lost for 170 Years, Found (chronicle.com)

Schiphol writes: A long-lost letter by René Descartes has come to light at Haverford College, where it had lain buried in the archives for more than a century, and the discovery could revolutionize our view of one of the 17th-century French philosopher's major works.

Submission + - Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-fi Signals (gq.com)

Artifice_Eternity writes: I've always tended to dismiss claims of toxicity from cell phone and wi-fi signals as reflecting ignorance about microwave radiation. However, this GQ article cites American and European studies going back decades that have found some level of biological harm caused by these signals. Why haven't they gained more attention? From the article: "Industry-funded studies seem to reflect the result of corporate strong-arming. Lai reviewed 350 studies and found that about half showed bioeffects from EM radiation emitted by cell phones. But when he took into consideration the funding sources for those 350 studies, the results changed dramatically. Only 25 percent of the studies paid for by the industry showed effects, compared with 75 percent of those studies that were independently funded."

Submission + - Gravity explained as not a force. (google.nl)

sciencewatcher writes: The Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde proposed a remarkable simple theory which explains gravity as a statistical phenomenon resulting from different concentrations of information in empty spaces between masses. If it holds the magnitude of this new theory is of the same order as Einstein's introduction of the relativity theory and would result in a rewrite of all secondary education physics books. 'Gravity is not a fundamental force. It emergences from a deeper microscopic reality' he stated in a newspaper article (Dutch, Google translated). Simple Newtonian laws like the law of motion (F=m*a) can be easily derived from the new theory. So far his colleagues have stated to be intrigued rather than sceptic. The implications for other theories such as the unification theory are enormous.

Submission + - Google Tries Not To Be a Black Hole of Brilliance 4

theodp writes: Google says it's declined to pursue awesome job prospects to avoid an over-concentration of brilliance at the search giant. Speaking at the Supernova conference, Google VP Bradley Horowitz said the company intentionally leaves some brainpower outside its walls: "I recently had a discussion with an engineer at Google and I pointed out a handful of people that I thought were fruitful in the industry and I proposed that we should hire these people," said Horowitz. "But [the engineer] stopped me and said: 'These people are actually important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google.'"

Submission + - SPAM: Nano Breakthrough: Self-Assembling Nanoparticles

destinyland writes: Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs have "found a simple and yet powerful way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays," discovering that applying light or heat "can be used to further direct the assemblies of nanoparticles for even finer and more complex structural details." Led by Ting Xu (one of Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" young researchers), their technique "promises to revolutionize the data storage industry, eventually leading to the contents of hundreds of DVDs fitting into a space the size of a thumbnail," and the group is already working on paper-thin printable solar cells and ultra-small electronics.
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