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Censorship

+ - Wikipedia COO was Convicted Felon-> 4

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "From the Register:

"For more than six months, beginning in January of this year, Wikipedia's million-dollar check book was balanced by a convicted felon. When Carolyn Bothwell Doran was hired as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Florida-based Wikimedia Foundation, she had a criminal record in three other states — Virginia, Maryland, and Texas — and she was still on parole for a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) hit and run that resulted in a fatality. Her record also included convictions for passing bad checks, theft, petty larceny, additional DUIs, and unlawfully wounding her boyfriend with a gun shot to the chest.""

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Swedish Police Prepares To Block ThePirateBay.Org-> 1

Submitted by
Xemu
Xemu writes "The Swedish National Police Board has issued a statement that the famous file-sharing site ThePiratebay.Org will be added to the Swedish national Web blacklist next week, which in effect would shut down public access to the site. The Swedish national Web blacklist was created to give the Police means to prevent access to sites offering child pornography. When the blacklist was first implemented, many critics voiced concern that it would later be used to block non-child pornography sites with contents less liked by authorities, and indeed this now seems to be happening. In a blog interview, Anakata from ThePiratebay says "We see ThePiratebay as a search engine like any other. The police has never contacted us about suspected child porn. They should block Google." ( Sorry, links in Swedish only, this scoop is less than 30 minutes old. )"
Link to Original Source
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Online Gamers Can Now Pay With Their Blood

Submitted by
Weather Storm
Weather Storm writes "According to weirdasiannews.com, a game company called Moliyo, which runs multiple online games in China, has given roughly 120,000 hackers banned from one of its games, Cabal Online, the chance to play once again. The price? A pint of blood. Any banned player that shows up to a blood drive in Nanjing and donates a pint of blood will have their accounts unlock. In a response to a shortage of donors, Chinese hospitals and Moliyo developed an ingenious method of enticing gamers to give the gift that truly keeps on giving. About a hundred of the guilty have stepped forward."
Censorship

+ - YouTube bans makers of the Blashphemy Challenge

Submitted by Da_Weasel
Da_Weasel (458921) writes "If you followed the YouTube censorship and deletion of of Nick Gisburne's account after he posted quotations from the Quran, here's another slap in the face to freedom of expression. The Rational Response Squad, of Blasphemy Challenge fame, has had their account suspended by YouTube. No explanation yet why the account was suspended."
Biotech

+ - Alcohol and tobacco more dangerous than ecstasy

Submitted by GBC
GBC (981160) writes "The Lancet [lancet.com — free registration required] has published an article about a rational system for drug classification in the UK.

The article claims that "In the UK, the total burden of drug misuse, in terms of health, social, and crime-related costs, has been estimated to be between £10 billion and £16 billion per year."

It proposes that drugs should be classified by the amount of harm they do, rather than "A", "B", and "C" divisions in the UK Misuse of Drugs Act. The three main factors that determine the harm associated with any drug of potential abuse are: physical harm to the individual user caused by the drug; tendency of the drug to induce dependence and addiction; and effect of drug use on families, communities, and society. Each of these factors is further broken down into three sections.

Based on assessments from independent experts and specialist addiction psychiatrists, drugs were then ranked according to these nine parameters. Alcohol and tobacco are considered alongside other drugs in the rankings.

Of the twenty substances examined, alcohol was ranked fifth most harmful (behind heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and street methodone) and tobacco came in ninth (behind ketamine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine).

4-MTA, LSD and Ecstasy (all considered "Class A" drugs under the Act) all ranked lower than alcohol and tobacco. From the article: "Overall there was a surprisingly poor correlation between drugs' class according to the Misuse of Drugs Act and harm score."

As someone who supports an end to the "War on Drugs", it would be nice if this article leads to a more rational examination of drug policy both here in the UK and abroad; I am not holding my breath though."
The Internet

Web Censorship on the Increase 132

Posted by Zonk
from the xxx-xxxx-xxx-xxxx-xxxxxx dept.
mid-devonian writes "Close on the heels of the temporary blocking of YouTube by a Turkish judge, a group of academics has published research showing that Web censorship is on the increase worldwide. As many as two dozen countries are blocking content using a variety of techniques. Distressingly, the most censor-heavy countries (which includes China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Burma and Uzbekistan) seem to be passing on their technologically sophisticated techniques to other areas of the world. 'New censorship techniques include the periodic barring of complete applications, such as China's block on Wikipedia or Pakistan's ban on Google's blogging service, and the use of more advanced technologies such as 'keyword filtering', which is used to track down material by identifying sensitive words.'"
Biotech

Humans Hardwired to Believe in Supernatural Deity? 1852

Posted by Zonk
from the my-genes-rebel dept.
dohcrx writes "According to a Sunday New York Times article, 6 in 10 Americans believe in the devil and hell, 7 in 10 believe in angels, heaven and the existence of miracles and life after death, while 92% believe in a personal God. The article explores the possibility that this belief structure may be ingrained into our genetic makeup. 'When a trait is universal, evolutionary biologists look for a genetic explanation and wonder how that gene or genes might enhance survival or reproductive success ... Which is the better biological explanation for a belief in God — evolutionary adaptation or neurological accident? Is there something about the cognitive functioning of humans that makes us receptive to belief in a supernatural deity?'"
Internet Explorer

+ - IE7 and FF 2.0 share vulnerability

Submitted by hcmtnbiker
hcmtnbiker (925661) writes "Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2.0 share a logic flaw. The issue is actually more severe, as the two versions of the Microsoft and Mozilla browsers are not the only ones affected. The vulnerability impacts Internet Explorer 5.01, Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, and Firefox 1.5.0.9. "In all modern browsers, form fields (used to upload user-specified files to a remote server) enjoy some added protection meant to prevent scripts from arbitrarily choosing local files to be sent, and automatically submitting the form without user knowledge. For example, ".value" parameter cannot be set or changed, and any changes to .type reset the contents of the field," said Michal Zalewski, the person that discovered the IE7 flaw. There are Proof of concepts for both IE7 and firefox"
The Courts

+ - Top Canadian Court strikes down detention law

Submitted by
athar
athar writes "The Canadian Supreme Court, in an unanimous 9-0 decision, struck down the security certificate regime in Canada, whereby foreigners could be detained indefinitely on the basis of secret evidence, with no real ability to challenge their detention. The Court ruled that the regime violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has given the government one year to rectify the regime. The decision is in stark contrast to the current legal situation in the United States."
Television

+ - TV delays drive viewers to piracy

Submitted by Astat1ne
Astat1ne (519290) writes "The Register has a story about the delays Australian TV viewers are experiencing with overseas-produced series and how it is driving many of them to download the shows via BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks. From the story: "According to a survey based on a sample of 119 current or recent free-to-air TV series', Australian viewers are waiting an average of almost 17 months for the first run series' first seen overseas. Over the past two years, average Australian broadcast delays for free-to-air television viewers have more than doubled from 7.9 to 16.7 months." According to the article, the situation is compounded by the fact that Australian viewers are unable to download legal copies of the episodes from the US iTunes website and are turning to unauthorised means to get copies of their favorite shows."
Businesses

+ - Study contradicts RIAA on cause of CD sales drop

Submitted by IBuyManyCd
IBuyManyCd (666) writes "A new research paper (PDF) published in the Journal of Political Economy contradicts the RIAA claim that illegal downloading is the main reason for the 25% drop in CD sales.
A quick overview of the article is presented on the University of Chicago Press site: Downloads are not the primary reason for the decline in music sales. "Researchers from Harvard and Kansas find that impact of P2P sharing on U.S. music sales is "statistically indistinguishable from zero".
The overview also quotes:
"We match an extensive sample of downloads to U.S. sales for a large number of albums", write Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Harvard University) and Koleman Strumpf (University of Kansas). "While file sharers downloaded billions of files in 2002, the consequences for the industry amounted to no more than 0.7% of sales."
The author compiled data on nearly 50,000 music downloads of popular songs (on pop charts) and across eleven genre from 2 major P2P servers. They then compared these with the same pop chart songs CD sales, "it is striking to see that more than 60% of the songs in our sample are never downloaded".
This underlines what many online users have lived first hand. If an album is good enough, reaching the pop chart, it will gladly be bought by fans."
Music

+ - Gizmodo Declares March "Boycott The RIAA"

Submitted by
Ryan Draga
Ryan Draga writes "Tech Bloggers, Gizmodo, are declaring March "Boycott the RIAA Month"

From the article: "The RIAA has the power to shift public policy and to alter the direction of technology and the Internet for one reason and one reason alone: it's totally loaded. Without their millions of dollars to throw at lawyers, the RIAA is toothless. They get their money from us, the consumers, and if we don't like the way they're behaving, we can let them know with our wallets.""

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