Svonkie writes "Brendan Koerner reports in Wired Magazine that a growing number of ventures are using people, rather than algorithms, to filter the Internet's wealth of information. These ventures have a common goal: to enhance the Web with the kind of critical thinking that's alien to software but that comes naturally to humans. 'The vogue for human curation reflects the growing frustration Net users have with the limits of algorithms. Unhelpful detritus often clutters search results, thanks to online publishers who have learned how to game the system.'"
Lucas123 writes "The State of Washington's Division of Child support has forced hundreds of workers to turn in personal USB flash drives and has instead begun issuing corporate-style USB drives. The goal is to centrally monitor, configure and prevent unauthorized access to storage devices. So far about 150 common drives have been issued. The agency eventually plans to destroy all existing thumb drives collected as part of the security policy change."
rtknox00 writes "For astronauts spending months in space, the smallest touch of home can make a big difference. So when South Korea's first astronaut Ko San boards the International Space Station this April he'll be bringing along a hefty supply of kimchi, the national dish of his native country. While bringing a cherished food on a long journey might seem like a simple act, taking kimchi into space required millions of dollars in research and years of work." Science may never get Thorramatur in orbit.
An anonymous reader sends us to Popular Mechanics for word on a New York automaker with plans to introduce a US version of the air-powered car, with which India's Tata Motors made a splash last year. Zero Pollution Motors plans a sub-$18,000, 6-passenger vehicle that can hit 96 mph and gets over 100 MPG, using an untried dual engine — the air-powered motor being supplemented by a second (unspecified) engine that would kick in above 35 MPH. The company estimates that "a vehicle with one tank of air and, say, 8 gallons of either conventional petrol, ethanol, or biofuel could hit between 800 and 1000 miles." The vehicle could be introduced to the market as early as 2009.
mklickman writes "I've been hearing more and more about mobile broadband offered by the big wireless phone providers, and for the first time came to ask myself how it compares to using a wireless router. Since my wife and I both have laptops, and we're out a lot, would it be wise and/or worth it to do away with the standard cable-modem-plus-router setup and switch over to mobile broadband with (for example) AT&T or Sprint? I'm not really concerned about the cost of the PC cards themselves; they're not much more expensive than a decent router. Also, the cost of the wireless service per month is only (roughly) ten dollars more than my current ISP is charging me. Is it a good idea?"
An anonymous reader writes "The Church of Scientology can delete auctions from eBay with no supervision under the VeRO program, and has used this to delete all resale of the e-meters Scientologists use. This is to stop members from buying used units from ex-members instead of buying from the official (and very expensive) source. Given Scientology's record of fraud and abuse, should eBay give them this level of trust? Will this set a precedent for other companies that want to stop the aftermarket resale of their products?"
An anonymous reader writes "A Dallas newspaper is claiming that the long-in-development title Duke Nukem Forever is headed for retail release in late 2008. Unfortunately, game creator 3D Realms says that's not exactly what they meant. 'What the modest Texas newspaper actually seems to suggest is that 3D Realms is "on target" to release the mythical sequel sometime this year, though company president Scott Miller adds, "we may miss the mark by a month or two" (wink, wink). Miller also hinted that "hitting the big three" (in this case, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) is the obvious development strategy, but he continued to stress that 3D Realms has not "formally announced any platforms for DNF."'"
The Consumerist is reporting that a Best Buy customer recently purchased a hard drive only to discover that the box contained six ceramic bathroom tiles instead of the Western Digital drive he had expected. The rub of it is Best Buy is refusing to grant a refund or exchange for the non-existent drive. "The employee and assistant manager were more than willing to help, saying that it happens. So they set up the return and I repurchased the drive and while I was checking the contents to ensure it was a hard drive this time, the store manager came up, took the box from me and said to take it up with the manufacturer. Now to my surprise, I argued with the guy saying that they have already accepted the return and I have now purchased the new one. He said I was shit out of luck. I followed up with the manufacturer today and they said they would get the complaint to the Best Buy Purchasing department. Best Buy corporate said that they stand by their manager's decision."
coondoggie writes "This is the kind of news that your HR folks don't want to hear, but researchers today said letting workers swear at will in the workplace can benefit employees and employers. The study found regular use of profanity to express and reinforce solidarity among staff, enabling them to express their feelings, such as frustration, and develop social relationships, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UES). Researchers said their aim was to challenge leadership styles and suggest ideas for best practice. "Employees use swearing on a continuous basis, but not necessarily in a negative, abusive manner. Swearing was as a social phenomenon to reflect solidarity and enhance group cohesiveness, or as a psychological phenomenon to release stress, " the study stated." I'm sure the discussion and tags on this story will be completely G Rated ;)
Lauren Weinstein writes to tell us that GM will be installing OnStar systems on almost 1.7 million 2009-model cars that will allow law enforcement (or anyone who cracks the system) to remotely shut down vehicles. Here is the AP's writeup, which like most MSM coverage doesn't mention any privacy implications.
LKM writes "Sony seems to think we should not be allowed to rip CDs we own to our iPods. In fact, doing so is stealing, and we should all re-buy songs, preferably one copy for each device. Says Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG: 'When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song. Making a copy of a purchased song is just a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'.' I guess somebody should tell Sony about all the devices Sony produces that allow this stealing to occur!"
Mike writes "The New York Times has announced that it will end its paid Internet service in favor of making most of its Web site available for free. The hope is that this move will attract more readers and higher advertising revenue. 'The longer-term problem for publishers like the Times is that they must find ways to present content online rather than just transferring stories and pictures from the newspaper. Most U.S. news Web sites offer their contents for free, supporting themselves by selling advertising. One exception is The Wall Street Journal which runs a subscription-based Web site. TimesSelect generated about $10 million in revenue a year. Schiller declined to project how much higher the online growth rate would be without charging visitors.'"
Peter S. Magnusson writes "As reported widely in business and mainstream press, the ILO recently released world market employment statistics. Most outlets focused on US economic competitiveness vs. China and Europe. Few noticed the gem hidden away in the ILO report: for the first time since the invention of agriculture, farming is not the biggest sector of the global economy — services is. (Aggregate employment numbers often divide the economy into agriculture, industry, and services.) Workers are now moving directly from agriculture to services, bypassing the traditional route of manufacturing."
SierraPete writes "First it was Napster; then it was Internet radio; then it was little girls, grandmothers, and dead people. But now our friends at the RIAA are going decidedly low-tech. The LA Times reports that the RIAA wants royalties from radio stations. 70 years ago Congress exempted radio stations from paying royalties to performers and labels because radio helps sell music. But since the labels that make up the RIAA are not getting the cash they desire through sales of CDs, and since Internet and satellite broadcasters are forced to cough up cash to their racket, now the RIAA wants terrestrial radio to pay up as well."
TechnicolourSquirrel writes "Forbes.com informs us that the company Media Rights Technologies is suing Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and Real Networks for not using its DRM technology and therefore 'failing to include measures to control access to copyrighted material.' The company alleges that their refusal to use MRT's X1 Recording Control technology constitutes a 'circumvention' of a copyright protection system, which is of course illegal under the Digital Millenium Copryight Act. I would say more, but without controlling access to this paragraph with MRT's products, I fear I have already risked too much ..."