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Submission + - Nature vs. Nurture: (Humans) Wired for Culture

someWebGeek writes: In 'Culture not genes drives humans forward', PhysOrg notes that:

Evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading Professor, Mark Pagel, argues that our cultural influences are more important to our success as a species than our genes in his new book, 'Wired for Culture: The Natural History of Human Co-operation,' published this week.

'He (Pagel) says other animals are limited to living in the environment their genes adapt them to, for example wildebeest can't climb trees for fruit...'

Um, humans are genetically specialized to be behaviorally unspecialized thanks to massive amounts of associative, cortical fibers. Anybody note that it's our genes that "wire" us? Outmoded, absolutist, two-valued, "either/or" thinking strikes again.


Submission + - Mainland Chinese Find Chink in the Great Firewall 1

someWebGeek writes: It appears that hundreds of Chinese citizens have found a way around their nation's Internet censorship system and picked President Obama's Google+ page as the place to express their new-found freedom. According to Marianne Barriaux over at PhysOrg, 'The comments centre on freedom of expression and human rights, as well as more mundane issues such as how to get US green cards.' We can but hope that these folks evade reprisals by their despotic overloads.

Submission + - Let's WoW Granny: Boosting Cognition in Older Adults

someWebGeek writes: Science News reports that 'World of Warcraft Boosts Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults'. According to the article, 'Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that playing WoW actually boosted cognitive functioning for older adults — particularly those adults who had scored poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing the game.' If reproducible, this has positive implications for improving cognitive function in old folks who most need it...or at least enhancing their online gaming skills.

Submission + - "Faux" French Cops and "Douhgnuts of Doom"

someWebGeek writes: It appears that a French pastry site has been found to serve pastry-lovers with ransomware. According to the article, the malware 'would saddle the machine with the ransomware, which would promptly block it and display a fake notification from the French Police.' Trend Micro has reported similar cop impersonations for Italy and other European police agencies.

Doughnuts, anyone?

Submission + - Anonymous "Credited" with New Attack on Greek Justice Ministry

someWebGeek writes: Anonymous is reported to be behind a 'New cyber-attack on Greek ministry after arrest'. Police say this attack came 'after the arrest of a teenager accused of participating in the first hacking.' In addition to the defacement of the Greek Justice Ministry's (GJM) website, Anonymous offered a variety of coercive threats of future actions, if the GJM continues these prosecutions and Greece continues to support ACTA.

Submission + - Danegeld: Entertainment Industry Lands on UK Telco Shores

someWebGeek writes: TorrentFreak shares a few thoughts from Peter Sunde, ex-spokesman for The Pirate Bay (TPB), in 'Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde on the Copyright Mafia.' The gist is that the Entertainment Industry is trying to attack copyright violators such as TPB indirectly by levying 'protection money' from the Telcos. By shifting the liability for copyright infringement to those Telcos operating in the UK as service providers, the Entertainment Industry hopes to have tangible victims to 'squeeze' instead of the more amorphous targets like TPB. In the end, if this tactic succeeds, it's customers who will pay the Danegeld in the form of increased service charges and of course loss of access to file-sharing.

Submission + - Carbohydrate-Based Synthesis to Replace Petroleum Derived Hydrocarbons?

someWebGeek writes: From PhysOrg's Taking biofuel from forest to highway, University of British Columbia biofuel expert, Jack Saddler, offers that:

we will become less dependent on fossil fuels and will become more dependent on fuels made from the sugars and chemicals found in plants.

Nothing too new there, i.e., the idea of biofuels eventually taking over from petroleum distillates. However, Saddler contends further that:

Similar to an oil refinery that processes crude oil to make thousands of supplementary products like plastics, dyes, paints, etc., the biorefinery would use leftover agricultural and forest material to make many of the same products, but from a sustainable and renewable resource.

I remember my organic chem instructor back in '81 telling us that eventually the textbooks would have to be rewritten. There would be no presumption of fractional distillation of thousands of basic compounds from petroleum, and the teaching emphasis would shift to synthesis from simple hydrocarbons. He noted that we'd all miss 'the good, ole days' when synthetic fibers, plastics, etc. were cheap...or even an economically viable option. I can live without rayon, but, dang, I'm gonna miss polyvinyl chloride!


Submission + - Jotform Returns - Government Refuses to Explain

someWebGeek writes: From Techdirt, US Returns Domain; Still Refuses To Say What Happened.

The scary bit is that, when Jotform asked GoDaddy (GD) why the site was down, GD sent them the Secret Service (SS), who claimed to be "too busy" to talk to the Jotform folks.

Still no explanation by GD or the SS, even though Jotform is back

Hmm, "GD" and "SS" indeed.

Submission + - Owners of and spanked in UK

someWebGeek writes: Amsterdam-based companies, R&D Media Europe and Una Valley BV, were each fined £100,000 pounds for typosquatting.

According to Paul Whiteing, the CEO of PhonepayPlus, the regulatory body for all premium rate phone-paid services in the UK:

These judgements send a clear message to providers that they cannot play on the public's trust in well-known websites to promote services.

Let's hope that £100,000 "spanking" stings enough to make it so.


Submission + - Online Reputation Technology: Sentiment Analysis

someWebGeek writes: An article over at PhysOrg reports that a new software technology called 'TheySay' promises that it 'accurately assesses what people mean from what they say online'. Actually, it's more like 'how they feel,' according to the creators of the software over at

This work is derived from research by the Computational Linguistics Group at Oxford University.

How does that make you feel (sorry, you'll have to answer without machine-help...the software's not generally available to 'the littul peepul' just now)?

Submission + - GNOME 3 -Beauty to the Bone?

someWebGeek writes: According to the GNOME design crew, as reported by Allan over at As Far as I Know, GNOME 3 will represent A New Approach to GNOME Application Design. The design patterns being developed and employed may effect a new, prettier interface, but more importantly a new mindset about the entire project, a mindset intended to encourage greater deep beauty in the application layers below the user interface. Maybe...for now, I'm sticking to the sinking ship of KDE in the Ubuntu ocean.

Submission + - Torrent - Where There's a Will...

someWebGeek writes: Peer-to-peer bit torrent client, Tribler, promises to sustain the file-sharing universe even if the current tracker-based model dies. According to Ernesto over at TorrentFreak, Tribler Makes BitTorrent Impossible to Shut Down as long as the Internet is up. The rub that gets a little glossed over in the article is the issue of unmoderated peer trust. The authors of Tribler at Delft University of Technology claim that crowdsourcing will keep the process safe. That is, users will rate sources and share those ratings with peers. If I was a Windoze user, I don't know that I'd want to be an early wader in any new stream based on that security model. Malware ahoy!

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