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Businesses

Climate Change Finally Impacts Important Industry 405

Socguy writes "According to a New Zealand scientist, Jim Salinger, the price of beer in and around Australia is going to be under increasing upward pressure as reductions in malting barley yields are experienced as a side effect of our ongoing climate shift. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Mr. Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention."
Medicine

Scientists Discover Gene For Ruthlessness 300

Pioneer Woman writes "Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem have found a link between a gene called AVPR1a and ruthless behavior. These findings come from an economic exercise called the 'Dictator Game' that allows players to behave selflessly, or like national dictators and 'little Hitlers' found in workplaces the world over. The team decided to look at AVPR1a because it is known to produce receptors in the brain that detect vasopressin, a hormone involved in 'prosocial' behavior. Researchers tested DNA samples from more than 200 student volunteers, before asking the students to play the game that measured their altruism. There was no connection between the participants' gender and their behavior but there was a link to the length of the AVPR1a gene."
Technology

Silicon Circuits That Bend and Stretch 73

Matty the Monkey brings us a story from the BBC about silicon chips which can bend, flex, and even stretch. Researchers have developed a method to create circuits just 1.5 microns thick, which can then be bonded to a type of rubber to allow a great degree of flexibility. Scientists and companies see uses for these circuits in products ranging from "electronic paper" to form-fitting sensor devices to advanced brain implants. From BBC News: "To create the foldable chips, these circuit layers are deposited on a polymer substrate which is bonded in turn to a temporary silicon base. Following the deposition of the circuits, the silicon base is discarded to reveal delicate slivers of circuitry held in plastic. These are then bonded to a piece of pre-strained rubber. When the strain is removed, the rubber snaps back into shape, causing the circuits on the surface to wrinkle accordingly."
Music

Collective Licensing for Web-Based Music Distribution 236

Two weeks ago we discussed a proposal from music industry veteran Jim Griffin to implement a monthly fee from ISPs in exchange for the legal distribution of copyrighted music. Now, quinthar brings news that Warner Music Group has hired Griffin with the intention to make that proposal a reality. Warner wants Griffin to establish a collective licensing deal with ISPs that would let the ISPs stop worrying about their legal responsibilities for file-sharing while contributing to a pool of money (potentially up to $20 billion per year) that would be distributed amongst the music industry. "Griffin says that in just the few weeks since Warner began working on this plan, the company has been approached by internet service providers 'who want to discharge their risk.' Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don't want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don't mind advertising wouldn't pay a dime. 'I.S.P.'s want to distinguish themselves with marketing," Griffin says. "You can only imagine that an I.S.P. that marketed a 'fair trade' network connection would see a marketing advantage.'"
Privacy

Submission + - CCAGW: Net Neutrality Bill a Waste

sporkme writes: CCAGW: Net Neutrality Bill Means Eight Sideshows and One Useless Study

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today condemned the introduction of the misnamed Internet Freedom Preservation Act, H.R. 5353, by House Subcommittee on Telecommunication and the Internet Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Charles Pickering (R-Miss.). The bill would mandate eight Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearings and a study of applying net neutrality regulations to high-speed Internet access services.
Edward Markey (D-Mass) has been the center of attention before, especially when he called for the arrest of slashdotter Christopher Soghoian for exposing airline security weaknesses.
The Military

DARPA Funds Development on Modular Satellite Network 51

coondoggie points out a Networkworld story about plans for modular satellite technology which is intended to replace modern, "monolithic" devices. The project hopes to solve issues of scalability and reliability by separating the typical satellite systems and allowing the different modules to change function when necessary. Quoting: "According to DARPA such a virtual satellite effectively constitutes a "bus in the sky" - wherein customers need only provide and deploy a payload module suited to their immediate mission need, with the supporting features supplied by a global network of infrastructure modules already resident on-orbit and at critical ground locations. In addition, there can be sharing of resources between various "spacecraft" that are within sufficient range for communication. DARPA said ... within the F6 network all subsystems and payloads can be treated like a uniquely addressable computing peripheral or network device. Such an approach can provide a long sought after "plug-n-play" capability, according to the agency."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Boardroom 652

buzzardsbay writes "Yes, it's all in good fun to point out the mismatched belt and shoes and the atrocious hairstyles, but honestly, I'm committing three of these errors right now! Is that why I can't get a key to the executive washroom? Or is it my rebellious attitude and pungent man-scent that's keeping me down? The shocker in here was pigtails on women... I love pigtails on women!"
Netscape

Netscape Finally Put Down 159

Stony Stevenson writes to point out that Netscape has finally reached end of line with the release of version 9.0.0.6. A pop-up will offer users the choice of switching to Firefox, Flock, or remaining with the dead browser, but no new updates will be released. "Nearly 14 years after the once mighty browser made its first desktop appearance as Mosaic Netscape 0.9, its disappearance comes as little surprise. Although Netscape accounted for more than 80 per cent of the browser market in 1995, the arrival of Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the same year brought stiff competition and surpassed Netscape within three years."
Robotics

Artificial Intelligence at Human Level by 2029? 678

Gerard Boyers writes "Some members of the US National Academy of Engineering have predicted that Artificial Intelligence will reach the level of humans in around 20 years. Ray Kurzweil leads the charge: 'We will have both the hardware and the software to achieve human level artificial intelligence with the broad suppleness of human intelligence including our emotional intelligence by 2029. We're already a human machine civilization, we use our technology to expand our physical and mental horizons and this will be a further extension of that. We'll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons.' Mr Kurzweil is one of 18 influential thinkers, and a gentleman we've discussed previously. He was chosen to identify the great technological challenges facing humanity in the 21st century by the US National Academy of Engineering. The experts include Google founder Larry Page and genome pioneer Dr Craig Venter."
Microsoft

Microsoft Battles Vista Perception With Prizes 342

LambAndMint writes "In what can only be described as an act of utter desperation to overcome Vista's mostly negative public perception issues, Microsoft has put together an online "Fact or Fiction" quiz about Windows Vista. Every person who submits themselves to Microsoft indoctrination gets a free shirt and the chance to win a $15,000 prize. Some of the supposed 'facts' will make you feel like you're reading a document from an alternate reality. Get ready to get a job as a computer salesman for a mass-market retailer as you go through the quiz."
Businesses

Submission + - AT&T's Direct Approach to P2P Bandwidth 2

sporkme writes: We have previously discussed ad nauseum Comcast's slight-of-hand with peer-to-peer bandwidth, and have more recently shone the spotlight on Time Warner as they have duped Texans with tiered bandwidth helpings and made land grabs in the Buckeye state.

The latest ISP to pile on is AT&T, with an automatic US$5-per-month increase in price for DSL service, impacting 13 states, effective in April. Exempt are those who already subscribe to exclusive or premium services such as "U-Verse" (a pilot all-inclusive system) and "Elite" (6 MiB/s). "Basic" users will see an increase of 33% from $14.99 to 19.95. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson fairly pointed out that when presented with a financial choice between a land line and a wireless one, consumers will choose the cellphone; DSL subscribership has suffered as a result.

Also a fair assessment:

"Even with this adjustment, our pricing still beats cable's standard pricing across the majority of our markets," AT&T spokesman Brad Mays said in an e-mail. "We're confident that customers will see the value in the service and that we'll continue to grow our customer base."


What remains to be seen is if AT&T might also achieve the litigiously acrobatic maneuver of implementing copyright filtering. One thing is now certain, though: an internet subscriber must now put a price on the ability to use P2P networks.
Portables

Submission + - 2008: The Future of Tablet PCs (cooltechzone.com)

jokerman writes: "Gundeep Hora discusses the future of Tablet PCs in 2008. He says, "A few companies were still touting Tablet PCs, but they were more realistic about the future than previous years. Unlike Bill Gates and Microsoft's vision of Tablet PC taking over the mainstream market, companies said they don't expect that to happen anymore, at least not for quite sometime. In fact, they expect Tablet PCs to be a niche tool for a select few fields, such as medical and legal. While doctors and lawyers are still getting used to Tablet PCs and there isn't a lot of demand from them, companies said they expect these industries to flourish with more and more medical and legal professionals digitalizing their information for easy access and portability. Another emerging field for Tablet PCs is surprisingly real estate."
Earth

Submission + - Sat data: global temps dropped .6C in 12 months

radioweather writes: This week Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA released their Microwave Sounder Unit (MSU) data for the entire globe for the month of January. This data, processed from satellite measurements provides a measure of global temperature changes. This January, the temperature anomaly for the globe went negative -.080C, capping a 12 month drop in global temperature of 0.629 degrees Centigrade. Compared to the agreed upon global warming trend of 0.74C for the last 100 years, it is a significant drop in only 1 year.

Meteorologists blame a massive La Niña in the Pacific as well as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) flipping to a cold state as likely reasons for the abrupt change and odd weather seen in the northern hemisphere this winter, such as snow in Baghdad for the first time in memory. Veteran meteorologist Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather writes "It is straight out of the book of climate. The pattern is so much like the 1949-1950 La Nina, which was signaling the start of the reversal of the warming of the earth's climate in the 1930s, '40s and early 50s."
Software

Submission + - Gauging The Candidates' (website) Performance

FairAndUnbalanced writes: While the candidates battle it out on Super Tuesday, their respective web sites tell a different story. A performance evaluation shows that both the Republicans and the Democrats aren't going to win the hearts and minds of users with their web sites. Virtual unknown Mike Gravel is the leader for the Democrats while Mike Huckabee bested the Republican field.

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