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Is RCA's Airnergy Snake Oil? 271

Ben Newman writes "Of all the tech that's come out of CES this week, nothing has gotten the blogosphere more excited then the RCA Airnergy. A lot of people love the thought of an ever-recharging cell phone, and the Airnergy promises to constantly charge its internal battery through 2.4GHz wireless signals. Neat idea, but as some commenters have pointed out the energy just isn't there to make this work — BOTECs for a full charge range from 100 days to 32 years. Plus, don't let the RCA brand fool you into thinking this must be from a legitimate company: RCA hasn't existed as anything more then a licensed brand name for a couple of decades. So what do Slashdotters think — real deal or 21st century hokum?"

Comment Re:Virtualization (Score 2, Informative) 328

Don't count on it. The problem with virtualization is that it requires the virtualized OS to be as cooperative to the whole affair as possible, since it needs to be fooled into thinking it has unfettered access to the system, which in many ways is much harder than just getting the OS to run natively on the hardware. Windows and Linux are becoming more virtualization-friendly every day since their developers have realized that their operating systems are being virtualized on a regular basis, but since there is no Apple-approved way to virtualize OS X, it would be a fairly trivial matter for them to make it as unfriendly to virtualize as possible. If that doesn't sound like such a big deal, consider how many strange bugs there are in VMs where the virtualized operating system is TRYING to make it as easier on the VM.

Is Apple doing this at the moment? Probably not. Would they if they saw OS X virtualization becoming widespread against their will? Of course no one can say for sure, but I don't think anyone would put it past them either.
The Courts

Submission + - Psystar: EULA Slayer? Groklaw says no

UnknowingFool writes: When Psystar first launched and went against Apple, some have claimed that a Psystar victory would mean a victory against EULAs. Groklaw has examined Psystar's Public License and found, if anything, their license is more restrictive than Apple's. What is more interesting is that Psystar seems to have copied Apple's Public License, replaced "Apple" with "Psystar" and made slight modifications to grant users less rights. My comparison shows that two licenses are nearly identical line for line but for those changes with Psystar even matching the Apple's numbering.
Social Networks

Submission + - Facebook under Fire over Breastfeeding Photos ( 4

NewsCloud writes: "Facebook continues to struggle with when to enforce its own terms of service. While the 78,240 group members who want Facebook to shut down the F*** Islam group are still frustrated, those concerned with photos of breastfeeding mothers can rest more easily. The site has recently come under fire for removing pictures of breastfeeding mothers, and banning users on the grounds that they'd uploaded "obscene content" to their profiles. Says Facebook, "Photos containing an exposed breast do violate our Terms and are removed." In response, more than 33,431 concerned Facebook users have created the "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" group. Apparently, scantily clad college co-eds, fine and dandy."

First Armed Robots on Patrol in Iraq 661

An anonymous reader writes "Robots have been roaming Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time — the first time in any war zone — the 'bots are carrying guns. The SWORDS robots, armed with M249 machine guns, "haven't fired their weapons yet," an Army official says. "But that'll be happening soon." The machines have actually been ready for a while, but safety concerns kept them off the battlefield. Now, the robots have kill switches, so "now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," according to the Army. I feel safer already."

Submission + - Chernobyl Mushrooms Feeding on Radiation

cowtamer writes: According to a National Geographic Article certain fungi can use ionizing radiation to perform "radiosynthesis" using the pigment melanin (the same one in our skin that protects us from UV radiation). It is speculated that this might be useful on long space voyages where energy from the Sun is not readily available.

New Theory Explains Periodic Mass Extinctions 383

i_like_spam writes "The theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid impact, the K-T extinction, is well known and supported by fossil and geological evidence. Asteroid impact theory does not apply to the other fluctuations in biodiversity, however, which follow an approximate 62 million-year cycle. As reported in Science, a new theory seems to explain periodic mass extinctions. The new theory found that oscillations in the Sun relative to the plane of the Milky Way correlate with changes in biodiversity on Earth. The researchers suggest that an increase in the exposure of Earth to extragalactic cosmic rays causes mass extinctions. The original paper describing the findings is available online."

Submission + - Terrorists are like Starfish (?) (

Mark D. Drapeau writes: "Could biological metaphors about networking and systems shed light on one of the most difficult issues of our time — terrorism? According to a new op-ed in the 31 July 2007 Washington Times, and a new book entitled The Starfish and the Spider, the answer is a resounding "Yes". An excerpt from the op-ed reads: *** Most large institutions are organized hierarchically with centralized leadership. Corporations have CEOs, armies have generals, countries have presidents. When competing against centralized organizations, promoting diffusion and disrupting cohesion are considered progressive. However, al Qaeda has a constantly mutating, horizontal structure composed of an inspirational catalyst in the form of Osama bin Laden and other central figures joined with numerous small groups brought together not by orders but ideology. Here, lack of structure is a strength. Little thought is given, however, to how such a decentralized terrorist network structure affects the strategy for combating it. "The Starfish and the Spider," a new book about corporate strategy written for a business audience, has a wider application — combating terrorism — and sheds light on this issue.*** Read more here: TARY/107310009/1012 And here:"
The Courts

German Prosecutors Won't Help RIAA Counterpart 199

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A German court decision ruled that the European counterpart to the RIAA cannot invoke criminal proceedings over petty file sharing incidents. The goal was to to find out from ISPs the identity of alleged file-sharing subscribers; the requests have been refused as the judge saw the the proceedings as not in the 'public interest', and little or no economic damage was shown to have been caused to the record companies. Offering a few copyright-protected music tracks via a P2P network client was 'a petty offense,' the court declared. Within days, German prosecutors have now indicated that they will no longer permit the use of 'criminal proceedings' to procure subscriber information."

The clothes have no emperor. -- C.A.R. Hoare, commenting on ADA.