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Submission + - The weird world of tech product names (

harrymcc writes: Tech companies have an amazing knack for giving their products--including the good ones--names that are unmemorable, unpronounceable, confusing, or just plain strange. (One candidate for the most peculiar one of all time: Pentax's *ist.) Technologizer's Jared Newman has taken a look at the phenomenon--including classic examples and thoughts from insiders on why tech branding is the way it is. His conclusion: The relentless pace of the industry and unending need for new monikers ensures that weird product names are here to stay.

Submission + - Facebook Blasted for Failing to Protect Children (

An anonymous reader writes: An investigative report found Facebook users blatantly trading and posting child pornography, and Internet safety experts were unimpressed by Facebook's efforts to curtail the behavior. This followed a case earlier this year where an international child porn ring was busted and it emerged that Facebook had disabled the user accounts but had not reported them to law enforcement.

Submission + - OPIE back from the dead after two years (

TuxMobil writes: "The Open Palmtop Integrated Environment (OPIE) is not dead anymore. Since more than two years a fresh update is available finally. OPIE aims at making an universal graphical framework for most (embedded) distributions available. As reference platforms, HP's iPAQ and Sharp's Zaurus PDAs are directly supported. OPIE also moved from to SourceForge."

Submission + - Amazon Presents The Grapes of Wrath, RV Edition

theodp writes: 'If you enjoy living in the outdoors and work well in a fast paced environment,' advertised Amazon last April, 'come join us between October and December at our fulfillment centers.' With the holiday season well underway, Santa's getting some help again this year from the ' gypsies' who live in RVs outside the company's Campbellsville, KY warehouse during the holiday season. The Kentucky Department of Parks helped out Amazon by keeping the Green River Lake State Park campground open during November and December, and adding frost-free water hydrants and wifi for Amazon's Workampers. 'This is another example of how our state parks play a crucial role with economic development in Kentucky communities,' said a state official. It's got kind of a Grapes of Wrath vibe, but to be fair, some workers couldn't be happier with the arrangement.

IBM To Build 3-Petaflop Supercomputer 73

angry tapir writes "The global race for supercomputing power continues unabated: Germany's Bavarian Academy of Science has announced that it has contracted IBM to build a supercomputer that, when completed in 2012, will be able to execute up to 3 petaflops, potentially making it the world's most powerful supercomputer. To be called SuperMUC, the computer, which will be run by the Academy's Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching, Germany, will be available for European researchers to use to probe the frontiers of medicine, astrophysics and other scientific disciplines."

Submission + - Comcast accused of congestion by choice

An anonymous reader writes: A kind soul known as Backdoor Santa has posted graphs purportedly showing traffic through TATA, one of Comcast's transit providers. The graphs of throughput for a day and month, respectively, show that Comcast chooses to run congested links rather than buy more capacity. Keeping their links full may ensure that content providers must pay to colocate within Comcast's network. The graphs also show a traffic ratio far from 1:1, which has implications for the validity of its arguments with Level (3) last month.

Submission + - U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Highly Watched Omega v (

David Weiskopf writes: We are taking another unscheduled break from our two-part holiday round-up (see Part I here) because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the important and closely watched Omega S.A. vs. Costco Wholesale copyright case centered on the availability of the first-sale doctrine defense to importation of copyright protected works made outside of the United States and imported into the U.S without permission of the copyright owner (which is otherwise prohibited absent availability of the first sale doctrine defense) — a type of 'grey market' good.

Submission + - Australian Media defends WikiLeaks (

scotty.m writes: Australia's most senior media professionals have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard today to express their support for WikiLeaks.
The letter was initiated by the Walkley Foundation and signed by the ten members of the Walkley Advisory Board as well as editors of major Australian newspapers and news websites and the news directors of the country's three commercial TV networks and two public broadcasters.


Submission + - Sony demonstrates 'Flower Power' solar windows (

cylonlover writes: At the Eco Products 2010 exhibition in Tokyo this past weekend, Sony showed intentions to bring new meaning to the phrase "flower power" with its beautifully designed Hana Mado, or "Flower Window." The device is actually a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) which converts light into electrical energy and is made using a screen printing technique to generate custom designs.

EPA Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Bees 410

hether writes "The mystery of the disappearing bees has been baffling scientists for years and now we get another big piece in the puzzle. From Fast Company: 'A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined — electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.' Now environmentalists and bee keepers are calling for an immediate ban of the pesticide clothianidin, sold by Bayer Crop Science under the brand name Poncho."

Submission + - Baggage Fees Send Airline Profits Soaring (

Pickens writes: "The Chicago Tribune reports that the 20 largest U.S. carriers collected $906.4 million in baggage-related charges during the third quarter, a 23 percent jump from 2009 results, according to data released Monday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. New baggage fees for international routes, a rebound in air travel and passenger frustration over limited overhead space in airplane cabins all contributed to the skyrocketing fee income, observers said. The volume of luggage handled by American Airlines has leveled off this year, averaging 0.8 to 0.9 checked bags per passenger, or roughly 205,000 checked bags per day, down from about 1.1 checked bags in 2008, when American and other major carriers turned to fees to offset losses prompted by high oil prices and the recession. And while analysts question what else carriers can do to wring greater baggage income from passengers, no carrier has followed Spirit Air Line's example and begun charging passengers for carry-ons. Spirit's new policy appears to have reaped rewards for the ultra-low-cost carrier. After Spirit rolled out the new charges Aug. 1, its baggage fee revenue rose to $22.9 million during the third quarter, up 36 percent from the previous quarter."

Submission + - The Top 50 Gawker Media Passwords ( 1

wiredmikey writes: Readers of Gizmodo, Lifehacker and other Gawker Media sites may be among the savviest on the Web, but the most common password for logging into those sites is embarrassingly easy to guess: “123456.” So is the runner-up: “password.”

On Sunday night, hackers posted online a trove of data from Gawker Media’s servers, including the usernames, email addresses and passwords of more than one million registered users. The passwords were originally encrypted, but 188,279 of them were decoded and made public as part of the hack. Using that dataset, we found the 50 most-popular Gawker Media passwords:


Submission + - Sheriff's online database leaks info on Informants (

Tootech writes: A Colorado sheriff's online database mistakenly revealed the identities of confidential drug informants and listed phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers of suspects, victims and others interviewed during criminal investigations, authorities said.

The breach potentially affects some 200,000 people, and Mesa County sheriff's deputies have been sifting through the database to determine who, if anyone, is in jeopardy.

"That in itself is probably the biggest concern we have, because we're talking about people's personal safety," Sheriff Stan Hilkey said.

The FBI and Google Inc. are trying to determine who accessed the database, the sheriff said. Their concern: That someone may have copied it and could post it, WikiLeaks-style, on the Internet.

"The truth is, once it's been out there and on the Internet and copied, you're never going to regain total control," Hilkey said.

Thousands of pages of confidential information were vulnerable from April until Nov. 24, when someone notified authorities after finding their name on the Internet. Officials said the database was accessed from within the United States, as well as outside the country, before it was removed from the server.


Statistical Analysis of Terrorism 265

Harperdog sends in a Miller-McCune story about Aaron Clauset, a researcher whose studies on the statistics and patterns that arise from large numbers of terrorist attacks could help governments better prepare for such conflicts and reduce uncertainty about their frequency and magnitude. Quoting: "After mapping tens of thousands of global terrorism incidents, he and his collaborators have discovered that terrorism can be described by what mathematicians call a power law. ... Using this power law relationship — called 'scale invariance' — the risk of a large attack can be estimated by studying the frequency of small attacks. It’s a calculation that turns the usual thinking about terrorism on its head. 'The conventional viewpoint has been there is "little terrorism" and "big terrorism," and little terrorism doesn't tell you anything about big terrorism,' Clauset explains. 'The power law says that's not true.' Massive acts of violence, like 9/11 or the devastating 1995 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, obey the same statistical rules as a small-scale IED attack that kills no one, Clauset's work suggests. 'The power law form gives you a very simple extrapolation rule for statistically connecting the two,' he says."

Anonymous Now Attacking Corporate Fax Machines 410

An anonymous reader writes "Anonymous has claimed responsibility for distributed denial of service attacks against several anti-WikiLeaks websites this month. In a novel twist to the campaign, Mission Leakflood has started a new DDoS attack against fax numbers belonging to Amazon, MasterCard, Moneybookers, PayPal, Visa and Tableau Software. Some numbers have already stopped responding, and Twitter and PostFinance have since been added to the target list."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison