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Programming

How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People 241

CoolVibe writes "Two Subversion developers talk at Google about how to keep pests and malcontents out of your open source projects. From the abstract: 'Every open source project runs into people who are selfish, uncooperative, and disrespectful. These people can silently poison the atmosphere of a happy developer community. Come learn how to identify these people and peacefully de-fuse them before they derail your project. Told through a series of (often amusing) real-life anecdotes and experiences.'"
The Courts

Submission + - The Brain on the Stand

odyaws writes: The New York Times is carrying a long article on the up-and-coming methodology of using techniques from neuroscience, particularly fMRI, in criminal cases. As defendants are winning trials or gaining leniency based on brain abnormalities ("the tumor made me do it"), it brings to light difficult questions of legal culpability for criminals with neurological problems, a natural extension of the insanity defense. Particularly chilling is the speculation on the future use of brain scans to determine likelihood of future criminal activity in potential parolees and others such as terrorism suspects.
The Courts

Submission + - Jury finds Vonage infringed on Verizon patents

LabRat writes: Today, a jury found that Vonage violated 3 key patents held by Verizon. Vonage is ordered to pay $58 million in past damages and a 5.5% royalty on future sales revenue. While much smaller than what Verizon was seeking ($5/customer/month)...it's still quite a substantial financial blow to a company that continues to hemorrhage cash as it seeks to buy it's way to market share through a marketing blitz campaign. It's unclear at this point if this victory will embolden Verizon to pursue blackmail, erm, settlements from other VoIP providers..though it seems highly unlikely that Verizon would pass up the opportunity to generate cash flow from its IP holdings. No word yet if Vonage plans to appeal.
Editorial

Submission + - Factory soot leads to increased pacific storms.

Cryolithic writes: From the Vancouver Sun

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html ?id=e28e0f63-8add-4f03-aa2e-f64a8499bad5&k=5988

Soot from the factories of Asia is changing weather across the Pacific Ocean and causing storms like the December howler that clobbered Vancouver's Stanley Park, a new study says.

"The intensified Pacific storm track is climatically significant," and is the first time climate scientists have been able to measure the effect of "aerosols" — minute airborne particles — on climate, the team writes.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Favorite Force Poll

Miphnik writes: Favorite Force?
  • Strong
  • Weak
  • Electromagnetic
  • Gravity
  • Light Side
  • Dark Side
  • Brute
Programming

Submission + - F-22 Raptor Gets Zapped by International Date Line

Anonymous Coward writes: "Lockheed's F-22 Raptor is the most advanced fighter in the world with its stealth capabilities, advanced radar, state of the art weapons systems and ultra-efficient turbofans.

But while the simulated war games were a somewhat easy feat for the Raptor, something more mundane was able to cripple six aircraft on a 12 to 15 hours flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Air Force's mighty Raptor was felled by the International Date Line (IDL).

When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to "reboot" the systems to no avail.

http://www.dailytech.com/Lockheeds+F22+Raptor+Gets +Zapped+by+International+Date+Line/article6225.htm "
The Internet

Submission + - France Bans Amateur Videos of Violent Acts

narramissic writes: "On the 16th anniversary of the Rodney King beating, which was filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday, the French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The government has also proposed a certification system for Web sites, blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers, identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they adhere to certain rules."
Space

Submission + - Chinese Astronaut Could Be On The Moon In 15 Years

An anonymous reader writes: Xinhua and Reuters are reporting that China will have the technical capability to put astronauts on the moon within 15 years. According to Huang Chunping, chief launch vehicle designer, a Chinese lunar landing will be achievable in that time frame if funding is available and preliminary projects go well. Huang says that China's current generation of Long March rockets are 'slightly' better than Europe's Ariane rockets, but trail the United States and Russia. China achieved its first human space flight in 2003. The United States had its first human space flight in 1961, and put the first astronauts on the moon about 8 years later, in 1969. The US is planning to return to the moon by 2020, 13 years from now.
United States

Submission + - Will the US have to conduct more nuclear tests?

Matthew Sparkes writes: "The US has selected the design for a controversial new nuclear warhead to replace the Cold War era weapons currently deployed in its submarines. However, critics say the existing bombs are good enough, and that developing new warheads gives entirely the wrong message at a time when the US is trying to control nuclear proliferation. Questions also remain about whether or not the new warhead will require nuclear tests."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft attack Google over 'fair use'

Theendisnigh writes: Quoted from the Guardian online: "Microsoft will today launch a blistering attack on Google, accusing the Silicon Valley giant of a "cavalier" attitude to copyright.
In a prepared speech to the American Association of Publishers, senior Microsoft lawyer Tom Rubin is expected to hit out at Google for profiting from other people's work.
"Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs," he says."

Complete Guardian story available here.
Space

Submission + - ESA to create backup satellites

Matthew Sparkes writes: "The frequencies allotted to the Galileo satellite navigation system, the European GPS, will be safeguarded with a new backup satellite. Under the rules of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an operator risks losing frequency rights if a break in service lasts longer than two years. Therefore, if their satellites malfunction, ESA could lose the frequency altogether. "From now on, there will always be a European navigation satellite in space," the ESA announcement promised. Of course, China could still blow up and replace the system."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Reflectivity Reaches a New Low

sporkme writes: "A new nanocoating material developed by a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has the lowest level of reflectivity ever seen, or not seen in this case. The amount of light reflected by the composite of silica nanorods and aluminum nitride is almost the same amount reflected by air. From the article:

Schubert and his coworkers have created a material with a refractive index of 1.05, which is extremely close to the refractive index of air and the lowest ever reported. Window glass, for comparison, has a refractive index of about 1.45.
. . .
Using a technique called oblique angle deposition, the researchers deposited silica nanorods at an angle of precisely 45 degrees on top of a thin film of aluminum nitride, which is a semiconducting material used in advanced light-emitting diodes (LEDs). From the side, the films look much like the cross section of a piece of lawn turf with the blades slightly flattened.
Suggested applications include increased efficiency in solar cells, more energy-efficient lighting and advances in quantum mechanics. No word yet on invisibility cloaks."
Biotech

Submission + - Electrical charge helps re-grow body part

MattSparkes writes: "Tadpoles can regenerate their tails thanks to a technique that alters the electrical properties of their cells, a new study shows. The build-up of electrical charge at the site of amputation helps guide tissue regeneration. They speculate that doctors might one day be able to regenerate tissue in patients — such as those who have suffered spinal cord injury, or even those who have lost fingers — by altering the flow of positively charged molecules out of cells."
Censorship

Submission + - Egyptian blogger sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anonymous reader writes: 22-year old Egyptian blogger and former law student Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (aka Kareem Amer) was sentenced by an Egyptian court on Thursday to 4 years in prison, three years for "disparaging religion" and a fourth one added for "defaming the president." Amer, whose blog is still online, has become a cause celebre for human rights activists in Egypt and around the Arab world, who have set up a "Free Kareem!" campaign calling for his release online. Amer's case is interesting in that almost everything, from the crime itself to those rallying to Amer's aid, has been conducted in large part over the Internet. At one point, the legal defense team even tried to force the court to bring in a computer expert who could testify that the blog was hosted outside of Egypt and therefore out of the court's jurisdiction. While for an increasing number of individuals like Amer, blogging has become another form of regulated expression, it is also "an essential communication strategy for many frustrated Arabs who use blogging as a tool to promote democratization," as this editorial by one of the leaders of the "Free Kareem!" campaign claims.

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