Ponca City writes "The Telegraph reports that an online dating profile created by Julian Assange in 2006 has been unearthed from OKCupid disclosing that the WikiLeaks editor sought 'spirited, erotic' women 'from countries that have sustained political turmoil.' Writing under the pseudonym of British science fiction author Harry Harrison, Assange described himself as a 'passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual.' Assange said he was seeking a 'siren for [a] love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy' adding that he was 'directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project which is, as you might expect, male dominated' and added enigmatically: 'I am DANGER, ACHTUNG.' Among Assange's listed interests were the 'structure of reality' and 'chopping up human brains' – although he added the caveat '(neuroscience background)' lest the latter put off potential admirers. 'I like women from countries that have sustained political turmoil,' Assange wrote. 'Western culture seems to forge women that are valueless and inane. OK. Not only women!'"
An anonymous reader tipped a post up on Americablog revealing that BP Photoshopped a fake photo of their crisis command center and posted it on their main site. The blogger commented, "I guess if you're doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center." While this story was just being picked up by the Washington Post, an Americablog reader spotted another doctored BP photo on their website, this time of a "top kill" working group. How many others?
GrApHiX42 writes "Starting on Thursday, Google is going to increase the salaries of gay and lesbian employees whose partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax they must pay that heterosexual married couples do not. Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google's move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent."
Th'Inquisitor writes "Pornography makes up 37% of the total number of web pages online, according to a new study published by Optenet, a SaaS provider. According to the report, which looked at a representative sample of around four million extracted URLs, adult content on the Internet increased by 17% in the first quarter of 2010, as compared to the same period in 2009."
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that a new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, look standard, but their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information, and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place. The coupons can, in some cases, be tracked not just to an anonymous shopper but to an identifiable person: a retailer could know that Amy Smith printed a 15-percent-off coupon after searching for appliance discounts at Ebates.com on Friday at 1:30 pm and redeemed it later that afternoon at the store. Using coupons also lets the retailers get around Google hurdles. Google allows its search advertisers to see reports on which keywords are working well as a whole but not on how each person is responding to each slogan. That alarms some privacy advocates. Companies can 'offer you, perhaps, less desirable products than they offer me, or offer you the same product as they offer me but at a higher price,' said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the United States Public Interest Research Group, which has asked the Federal Trade Commission for tighter rules on online advertising. 'There really have been no rules set up for this ecosystem.'"
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has come up with an unusual way of saving money: changing their email font. The school expects to use 30% less ink by switching from Arial to Century Gothic. From the article: "Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one. That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon. Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money."
RawJoe writes "India and Bangladesh have argued for almost 30 years over control of a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have ended the argument for them: the island's gone. From the article: 'New Moore Island, in the Sunderbans, has been completely submerged, said oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols, he said. "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming," said Hazra.'"
krou writes "Working on a finger-bone that was discovered in the Denisova Cave of Siberia's Altai mountains in 2008, Johannes Krause from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and colleagues managed to extract mitochondrial DNA. They compared it to the genetic code of modern humans and other known Neanderthals and discovered a new type of hominin that lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London's Natural History Museum, said, 'This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia.' The last common ancestor of the hominid (dubbed 'X-Woman'), humans and Neanderthals seems to have been about one million years ago."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to announce that within a year everyone in Great Britain will be given a personalized webpage for accessing Government services as part of a plan to save billions of pounds by putting all public services online. The move could see the closure of job centers and physical offices dealing with tax, vehicle licensing, passports and housing benefits within 10 years as services are offered through a single digital gateway. [This] 'saves time for people and it saves money for the Government — the processing of a piece of paper and mailing it back costs many times more than it costs to process something electronically,' says Tim Berners-Lee, an advisor to the Prime Minister. However, the proposals are coming under fire from union leaders who complain that thousands of public sector workers would be made jobless and pointed to the Government's poor record of handling personal data. 'Cutting public services is not only bad for the public who use services but also the economy as we are pushing people who provide valuable services on the dole,' says one union leader."
Kilrah_il writes "The linked article provides a short summary of the problems scientists have with statistics. As an intern, I see it many times: Doctors do lots of research but don't have a clue when it comes to statistics — and in the social science area, it's even worse. From the article: 'Even when performed correctly, statistical tests are widely misunderstood and frequently misinterpreted. As a result, countless conclusions in the scientific literature are erroneous, and tests of medical dangers or treatments are often contradictory and confusing.'"
eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."
lilbridge writes "Huge reserves of "combustible ice" — frozen methane and water — have been discovered in the tundra of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. Estimates show that there is enough combustible ice to provide 90 years worth of energy for China. Burning the combustible ice may be a far better alternative than letting it just melt, releasing tons of methane into the air."
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has issued a 20-page opinion expressing concern about ACTA (PDF). Michael Geist's summary of the opinion notes that it concludes that the prospect of a three-strikes and you're out system may violate European privacy law, that the possibility of cross-border enforcement raises serious privacy issues, and that ACTA transparency is needed now."