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The Military

Chinese Stealth Fighter Jet May Use US Technology 339

Ponca City writes "In 1999, a US F-117 Nighthawk was downed by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a bombing raid. It was the first time one of the fighters had been hit, and the Pentagon blamed clever tactics and sheer luck. The pilot ejected and was rescued. Now, the Guardian reports that pieces of the wrecked F-117 stealth fighter ended up in the hands of foreign military attaches. 'At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers,' says Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war. 'We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies... and to reverse-engineer them.' Zoran Kusovac says the Serbian regime routinely shared captured western equipment with its Chinese and Russian allies. 'The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese,' says Kusovac."
Microsoft

Italian Consumer Watchdog Sues Microsoft Over 'Windows Tax' 313

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from El Reg: "[An] Italian consumer watchdog is suing Microsoft over the 'Windows Tax' – the near impossibility of an ordinary user getting a refund if they decide to delete Microsoft's software from a new computer or laptop. The class action case says Microsoft makes it too difficult for people who buy a computer with Microsoft software on it to remove that software and get their money back. Most users do not realise that starting the software means you have accepted the end user licence."
Science

Nature Publisher Launches PLoS ONE Competitor 62

linhares writes "Nature's Publishing Group is launching a new journal, Scientific Reports, announced earlier this month. The press release makes it clear that it is molded after PLoS ONE: 'Scientific Reports will publish original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. It will not set a threshold of perceived importance for the papers that it publishes; rather, Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original. To enable the community to evaluate the importance of papers post-peer review, the Scientific Reports website will include most-downloaded, most-emailed, and most-blogged lists. All research papers will benefit from rapid peer review and publication, and will be deposited in PubMed Central.' Perhaps readers may find it ironic that PLoS ONE, first dismissed by Nature as an 'online database' 'relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals' seems to be setting the standards for 'a new era in publishing.'"
Power

Italian Scientists Demonstrate Cold Fusion? 815

Haffner quotes physorg which says "Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W....when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20C water into dry steam at about 101C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31."
Hardware

Thermal Nanotape Promises Cooler, Healthier Chips 48

Blacklaw writes "A team of researchers comprised of members from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and Stanford University has developed a new thermal nanotape which it claims will lead to chips that run cooler and last longer. The thermal nanotape, constructed of binder materials surrounding carbon nanotubes, promises to lead to the creation of semiconductors — including CPUs and GPUs — that don't suffer from the rigors of frequent temperature changes, known as thermal cycling."
The Matrix

The Matrix Re-Reloaded 640

derGoldstein writes "According to Keanu Reeves: ' Matrix 4 and 5 are coming.' At an event that took place at the London International School of Performing Arts, 'Reeves revealed that he met with the Wachowskis around Christmas. They told him that they completed script treatments for two more Matrix installments. They are planning to make the films in 3D and have already met with James Cameron to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. Reeves added that he's excited to return as Neo and promised that the treatments will truly revolutionize the action genre like the first Matrix film did.'"
Privacy

Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement 299

PatPending writes "Aerial drones are now used by the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security. But what about privacy concerns? 'Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance,' said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. 'We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people.'"
Government

UK Authorities Accused of Inciting Illegal Protest 371

jarran writes "Questions are being asked about the tactics being employed by UK authorities to monitor and control protest groups. Schnews reports on evidence that government IP addresses are posting messages to sites like indymedia, attempting to provoke activists into taking illegal direct action. Evidence has emerged recently that the police consider sex to be a legitimate tool for extracting information from targets, and senior police have been accused of lying to parliament about the deployment of undercover agents at protests."
Businesses

The Fall of Traditional Entertainment Conglomerates 204

Advocatus Diaboli writes "We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses. However large private companies still have considerable power over content production, distribution and promotion. Technology has been slowly changing this state of affairs for almost 30-40 years, however certain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years."
Security

New Mega-Leak Reveals Middle East Peace Process 760

An anonymous reader writes "There's been yet another mega-leak, this time of 1,600 papers describing the Israeli/Palestinian peace process negotiations. It's independent of Wikileaks and came to light via al-Jazeera, showing perhaps that the mega-leak meme is here to stay whatever happens to Assange. The papers show a weak Palestinian side offering ever greater concessions to Israel, which flatly rejected this as being insufficient: 'We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands,' Israel's then foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, told the Palestinians, 'and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it.'"
News

Artificial Retinas Can Balance a Pencil On Its End 165

mikejuk writes "A team of researchers has built a neural information system that is good enough and fast enough to balance a pencil in real time. If you think it's an easy task, try it! The Institute of Neuroinformatics, ETH / University Zurich have used what look like video cameras to do the job but in fact they are analog silicon retinas. They work so fast that even with fairly basic hardware they can balance a pencil."
Google

Why Eric Schmidt Left As CEO of Google? 378

Edsj writes "According to The New Yorker: 'Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision. At the same time, Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The “don’t be evil” brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive. Schmidt started to think of departing. Nudged by a board-member friend and an outside adviser that he had to re-energize himself, he decided after Labor Day that he could reboot. He couldn't.'"
America Online

60% of AOL's Profits Come From Misinformed Customers 301

satuon writes "Ken Auletta's big New Yorker piece on AOL (subscription only) this week revealed an interesting detail about the company's inner workings. According to Auletta, 80% of AOL's profits come from subscribers, and 75% of those subscribers are paying for something they don't actually need. According to Auletta: "The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. 'The dirty little secret,' a former AOL executive says, 'is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it.'"
Education

America Losing Its Edge In Innovation 757

jaywhybee writes "Forbes has an interesting article about America losing its edge in innovation because engineers and scientists in the US are not as respected as they are in other countries, and thus fewer youths aspire to become one. Quoting: 'I’ve visited more than 100 countries in the past several years, meeting people from all walks of life, from impoverished children in India to heads of state. Almost every adult I’ve talked with in these countries shares a belief that the path to success is paved with science and engineering. In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the US, but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.'"
Businesses

IRS Nails CPA For Copying Steve Jobs, Google Execs 509

theodp writes "It seems $1 salaries are only for super-wealthy tech execs. The WSJ reports that CPA David Watson incurred the wrath of the IRS by only paying himself $24,000 a year and declaring the rest of his take profit. It's a common tax-cutting maneuver that most computer consultants working through an S Corporation have probably considered. Unlike profit distributions, all salary is subject to a 2.9% Medicare tax and the first $106,800 is subject to a 12.4% Social Security tax (FICA). By reducing his salary, Watson didn't save any income taxes on the $379k in profit distributions he received in 2002 and 2003, but he did save nearly $20,000 in payroll taxes for the two years, the IRS argued, pegging Watson's true pay at $91,044 for each year. Judge Robert W. Pratt agreed that Watson's salary was too low, ruling that the CPA owed the extra tax plus interest and penalties. So why, you ask, don't members of the much-ballyhooed $1 Executive club like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt get in hot water for their low-ball salaries? After all, how inequitable would it be if billionaires working full-time didn't have to kick in more than 15 cents into the Medicare and Social Security kitty? Sorry kids, the rich are different, and the New Global Elite have much better tax advisors than you!"

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