revealingheart writes "BBC reports that Sweden is allowing one citizen per week to take control of its official Twitter feed, in what's been described as 'the world's most democratic Twitter experiment.' Adam Arnesson, a 21-year-old organic sheep farmer, is said to be the biggest star of the project so far, uploading photos and videos of life on his family's farm; while a female minister in the Church of Sweden and a Bosnian immigrant have also posted on the feed. The Swedish Institute and VisitSweden launched the experiment in December, which has helped to double Sweden's Twitter followers in the past month."
OCatenac writes "The Atlantic has an interesting story on the collateral damage of exposing diplomatic communications in Zimbabwe. From the article: 'The reaction in Zimbabwe was swift. Zimbabwe's Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating the Prime Minister on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of the leaked cable. While it's unlikely Tsvangirai could be convicted on the contents of the cable alone, the political damage has already been done. The cable provides Mugabe the opportunity to portray Tsvangirai as an agent of foreign governments working against the people of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, it could provide Mugabe with the pretense to abandon the coalition government that allowed Tsvangirai to become prime minister in 2009.' Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure."
crimeandpunishment writes "The Catholic church of France isn't looking for friends on Facebook, it's looking for priests. The church has turned to Facebook as part of a campaign to attract young people to the priesthood, in an effort to combat its drastically dwindling number of priests. It may be working. The Facebook page attracted more than 1,200 fans in one week."
Foofoobar writes "Due to a strike with the UK's postal system, people in Great Britain are getting copies of Windows 7 early and have already posted their experiences about the install process. Some have an easy time but others post installs taking 3 hours including Windows asking them to remove iTunes and Google toolbar prior to installation." The article indicates that many of these early users, though, are having better luck.
selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "David H. Newman, M.D. has an interesting article in the NY Times where he discusses common medical treatments that aren't supported by the best available evidence. For example, doctors have administered 'beta-blockers' for decades to heart attack victims, although studies show that the early administration of beta-blockers does not save lives; patients with ear infections are more likely to be harmed by antibiotics than helped — the infections typically recede within days regardless of treatment and the same is true for bronchitis, sinusitis, and sore throats; no cough remedies have ever been proven better than a placebo. Back surgeries to relieve pain are, in the majority of cases, no better than nonsurgical treatment, and knee surgery is no better than sham knee surgery where surgeons 'pretend' to do surgery while the patient is under light anesthesia. Newman says that treatment based on ideology is alluring, 'but the uncomfortable truth is that many expensive, invasive interventions are of little or no benefit and cause potentially uncomfortable, costly, and dangerous side effects and complications.' The Obama administration's plan for reform includes identifying health care measures that work and those that don't, and there are signs of hope for evidence-based medicine: earlier this year hospital administrators were informed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that beta-blocker treatment will be retired as a government indicator of quality care, beginning April 1, 2009. 'After years of advocacy that cemented immediate beta-blockers in the treatment protocols of virtually every hospital in the country,' writes Newman, 'the agency has demonstrated that minds can be changed.'"
A 14-year-old Wisconsin girl was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after she refused to stop texting during a high school math class. The girl denied having a phone when confronted by a school safety officer, but a female cop found it after frisking her. The Samsung Cricket was recovered "from the buttocks area" of the teenager, according to the police report. The girl was banned from school property for a week, and is scheduled for an April 20 court appearance for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. I applaud the adults involved for their discretion and temperance in this heinous case of texting without permission.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "President Bush has signed the EIPRA (AKA the PRO-IP Act) and created a cabinet-level post of 'Copyright Czar,' on par with the current 'Drug Czar,' in spite of prior misgivings about the bill. They did at least get rid of provisions that would have had the DOJ take over the RIAA's unpopular litigation campaign. Still, the final legislation (PDF) creates new classes of felony criminal copyright infringement, adds civil forfeiture provisions that incorporate by reference parts of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and directs the Copyright Czar to lobby foreign governments to adopt stronger IP laws. At this point, our best hope would appear to be to hope that someone sensible like Laurence Lessig or William Patry gets appointed."
KentuckyFC writes "One of the cornerstones of modern physics is Claude Shannon's theory of communication, which he published in 1948. If you've ever made a phone call, watched TV, or used a computer, you've got Shannon to thank for describing how information can be moved from one place in the universe to another using an idea called the channel capacity. But nobody has been able to develop a quantum version of this theory. So physicists have no idea how much quantum information can be sent from one point to another. Now two American physicists have made an important breakthrough by proving that two quantum channels with zero capacity can carry information when used together. That's interesting because it indicates that physicists may have been barking up the wrong tree with this problem: it implies that the quantum capacity of a channel does not uniquely specify its ability for transmitting quantum information (abstract). And that could be the idea that breaks the logjam in this area."
Pcol writes "The New York Times is running a story on Dr. Gregory Clark's book 'A Farewell to Alms,' which offers a new explanation for the Industrial Revolution and the affluence it created. Dr. Clark, an economic historian at the University of California Davis, postulates that the surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 came about because of the strange new behaviors of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours, and a willingness to save. Clark's research shows that between 1200 and 1800, the rich had more surviving children than the poor and that he postulates that this caused constant downward social mobility as the poor failed to reproduce themselves and the progeny of the rich took over their occupations. 'The modern population of the English is largely descended from the economic upper classes of the Middle Ages,' Clark concludes. Work hours increased, literacy and numeracy rose, and the level of interpersonal violence dropped. Around 1790, a steady upward trend in production efficiency caused a significant acceleration in the rate of productivity growth that at last made possible England's escape from the Malthusian trap."
In Sweden it is not only illegal to physically punish a child, it is a more grave offence then assaulting a adult. It is also a crime for day-care-workers, teachers and any other in professional contact with the child not to report if they have any suspicion that a child is being physically beaten.
More than one brittish family that has gotten into trouble with the law because of this.
More than one brittish family that has gotten into trouble with the law because of this.
An anonymous reader writes "A Microsoft exec has turned attack dog, lashing out at Apple's iPhone by saying the device isn't good for business. Why? Because the iPhone is 'a closed device that you cannot install applications on.' Specifically, he's talking about Microsoft Office. 'While the entry of the iPhone (with its cut-down version of Mac OS X) into this market offers new options for consumers, Sorenson believes user familiarity with the Windows Mobile interface — and the ease with which companies can buy and develop applications for the platform — will sustain its increasing popularity and help keep the iPhone out of the lucrative corporate market.'"
thisispurefud writes "A flaw has been found in a major Linux Wi-Fi driver that can allow an attacker to run malicious code and take control of a laptop, even when it is not on a Wi-Fi network."
caffiend666 writes "According to a Dallas Morning News article, any 'Dallas police officer in a marked squad car who is captured on the city's cameras running a red light will have to pay the $75 fine if the incident doesn't comply with state law ... Many police officers are angry about the proposed policy. The prevailing belief among officers has been that they can run red lights as they see fit.' Is this a case for or against governments relying on un-biased automated systems? Or, should anyone be able to control who is recorded on camera and who is held accountable?"