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How To Take a Big Vendor To Small Claims and Win 171

snydeq writes "Gripe Line's Christina Tynan-Wood offers good news for those harboring grievances about faulty software or unfair licensing practices: it is in fact possible to take a big vendor to small claims court and win. But, as one woman's fight against Adobe demonstrates, detailed evidence and a deep understanding of the laws in question are essential to obtaining justice against big vendor lawyers. 'Evidence is the key factor,' explains one legal expert. 'Often the evidence people present does not show what they think it does. And they fail to make themselves aware of the rules of evidence so they can introduce any evidence they do have in court. These companies will have attorneys and those attorneys will use the rules of civil procedure to take advantage of your lack of knowledge.' Moreover, they will spare little expense no matter the magnitude of claims brought against them. 'The lawyer for Adobe tried an "end-user is stupid" argument,' explains the woman who took on Adobe over a software license she never had the privilege of agreeing to. 'But he gave that up when he learned I wasn't a lame-brain home computer user. I have a software engineering background and worked for Sun Microsystems and Fidelity Investments tech group.'"

Submission + - Coming Out For Geeks? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a young (late teens) guy, and I recently came to terms with begin gay. I want to come out eventually, and I wanted to probe Slahdotters' experiences for the best way to do it. In addition, I'd like to know if coming out ruins a nerd's fragile social life, as most of the other nerds I know are male and heterosexual.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Reproducing an Ancient New World Beer 175

The Edible Geography blog has an amusing piece about Patrick McGovern, the "Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages," and his role in the production of a 3,400-year-old Mesoamerican beer recreated from a chemical analysis of pottery fragments. "McGovern describes his collaboration with Dogfish Head craft brewers ... to create a beer based on the core ingredients of early New World alcohol: chocolate beans (in nib form, as the cacao pods are too perishable to transport from Honduras to Delaware), honey, corn, ancho chillis, and annatto. ... The result? Cloudy and quite strong (9% A.B.V.), but more refreshing than you would think: the chocolate is savoury rather than sweet, and the chilli is just a very subtle, almost herbal, aftertaste. There is almost no head."

Submission + - Senators Question Removal of NASA Program Manager 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that one day after the removal of NASA's head of the Constellation Program, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Committee that oversees NASA, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the committee’s ranking Republican have asked NASA's inspector general to look into whether the NASA leadership is undermining the agency’s moon program and to “examine whether this or other recent actions by NASA were intended or could reasonably have been expected to foreclose the ability of Congress to consider meaningful alternatives” to President Obama’s proposed policy, which invests heavily in new space technologies and turns the launching of astronauts over to private companies. Congress has not yet agreed to the president’s proposed policy, which invests heavily in new space technologies and turns the launching of astronauts over to private companies, and inserted into this year’s budget legislation a clause that prohibits NASA from canceling the Constellation program or starting alternatives without Congressional approval. The manager, Jeffrey M. Hanley, whose reassignment is being called a promotion, had been publicly supported by Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator, and other NASA officials, but he may have incurred displeasure by publicly talking about how Constellation could be made to fit into the slimmed-down budgets that President Obama has proposed for NASA’s human spaceflight endeavors. “It’s enough for us to be extraordinarily concerned,” said a Congressional staff member, who was authorized to speak only anonymously. “We just want the inspector general to follow the path and report back to us what he’s finding.”"

Submission + - Intelligence Density and the Creative Class (

Doofus writes: The Atlantic has an interesting review of some open-sourced work by Rob Pitingolo about the comparative educational attainment levels of various metropolitan areas.
While people are now capable of being far more mobile than in generations past, many people remain within 100 miles or so of where they were born. For the technology-partition of the creative class, this is less likely to be the case, in my personal experience. Do we technical people put interesting work and the concentration of human educational capital ahead of other considerations when deciding on a move? Or is it more complicated?
Is it more about the fact that the creative jobs are where the creative people are?

Submission + - Japan Plans Moon Base built by Robots for Robots (

An anonymous reader writes: These ARE the droids we've been looking for. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has plans to build a base on the Moon by 2020. Not for humans, but for robots, and built by robots, too. A panel authorized by Japan's prime minister has drawn up preliminary plans of how humanoid and rover robots will begin surveying the moon by 2015, and then begin construction of a base near the south pole of the moon. The robots and the base will run on solar power, with total costs about $2.2 billion USD, according to the panel chaired by Waseda University President Katsuhiko Shirai.

Submission + - Feds take aim at comics websites (

crimeandpunishment writes: The owner of six websites that allow users to view comic books for free could find himself in big trouble, faster than a speeding bullet. The US Attorney's office in Tampa has filed a lawsuit claiming the sites...which offered Batman, Superman, Watchmen and other comics....violate copyright laws, and seeking to shut down the sites and take custody of the domain names. The FBI began investigating the owner of the sites last year.

Submission + - Google Describes Wi-Fi Sniffing in Pending Patent

theodp writes: After mistakenly saying that it did not collect Wi-Fi payload data, Google had to reverse itself, saying 'it's now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks.' OK, mistakes happen. But, as Seinfeld might ask, then what's the deal with the pending Google patent that describes capturing wireless data packets by operating a device — which 'may be placed in a vehicle' — in a 'sniffer' or 'monitor' mode and analyzing them on a server? Guess belated kudos are owed to the savvy Slashdot commenter who speculated back in January that the patent-pending technology might be useful inside a Google Street View vehicle. Google faces inquiries into its Wi-Fi packet sniffing practices by German and U.S. authorities.

Submission + - What Scientists Really Think About Religion 4

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Washington Post has a book review of "Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think" by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund who did a detailed survey of 1,646 scientists at elite American research universities that reveals that scientists often practice a closeted faith worrying about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. "After four years of research, at least one thing became clear: Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. The 'insurmountable hostility' between science and religion is a caricature, a thought-cliche, perhaps useful as a satire on groupthink, but hardly representative of reality," writes Ecklund. Unsurprisingly, Ecklund found that 64 percent of scientists are either atheists (34%) or agnostic (30%) but only five of the 275 in-depth interviewees actively oppose religion and even among the third who are atheists, many consider themselves "spiritual" with one describing his spiritual atheism as being rooted in "wonder about the complexity and the majesty of existence," a sentiment many nonscientists — religious or not — would recognize. "According to the scientists I interviewed, the academy seems to have a “strong culture” that suppresses discussion about religion in many areas," says Ecklund. "Yet so few scientists talk openly about issues related to religion that we do not know the true consequences of having such discussions. To remove the perceived stigma, we would need to have more scientists talking openly about issues of religion, where such issues are particularly relevant to their discipline.""

Chinese Networking Vendor Huawei's Murky Ownership 170

A month ago we mentioned India's suspicions that telecomm equipment from China might contain backdoors. There hasn't been any smoking gun on such speculation. Now reader littlekorea sends in some background on the ties one important Chinese telecomm vender might or might not have to the government there. "Conspiracy theories abound as to whether networking kit vendor Huawei is owned or controlled by the Chinese government and/or the military-industrial complex. But who really owns Huawei? Kiwi journalist Juha Saarinen headed to Shanghai to find out."

Submission + - Location Wild Hackathon Starts Tomorrow

locwi writes: A week-long, worldwide hackathon (with CmdrTaco as one of the judges) starts tomorrow, high noon EST. The aim of Location Wild is to develop the most innovative location-based app using the API of either the open-source location-search service NakdReality, or location infrastructure company SimpleGeo. Entry is free, and the winner will receive $2,500, an iPad, and no other contractual obligations.

Submission + - The Rise of Nanofoods (

separsons writes: Researchers are altering foods at the nanoscale level, changing their tiny molecular structures to enhance certain properties. For example, one group of scientists found a way to hide water within individual droplets of oil, making low-fat mayonnaise taste like the real thing. The process can make spices spicier, potato chips healthier, and make diet food taste just like full-calorie snacks. Nanotech can even help combat global malnutrition. But the process is certainly controversial, and food manufacturers are being tight-lipped about exactly what nanofoods they're working on. So can nanotech create a healthier world, or is it just frightening Franken-food?

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