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Submission + - Urban German Herbin' (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: The long-running struggles of Western society to reconcile official pogroms against recreational drug use with the popular and wide-spread practice of such pursuits, has turned a new page in Berlin. There, the city council has voted to legalize opening a cannabis cafe, apparently justified by a somewhat tortured interpretation of German law.

Submission + - U. S. Military Settles for Software Piracy (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: The BBC reports that the U. S. government has agreed to pay software maker Apptricity $50 million to settle claims that the U. S. Army pirated thousands of copies of the firm's provisioning software. The report indicates 500 licensed copies were sold, but it came to light an army official had mentioned that "thousands" of devices were running the software.

Submission + - Online Shopping: Hazardous to Junk Food's Health (reuters.com)

Rambo Tribble writes: Reuters is reporting that the trend toward online shopping is reducing the sales of impulse-purchase items, most notably candy and snacks often displayed at the checkout counter. As even grocery shopping shifts online, junk food producers are feeling the squeeze.

Submission + - From Images, Common Sense (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: The BBC is reporting on an effort at Carnegie Mellon University to teach a computer common sense through image analysis. The Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) is using two clusters of computers that include 200 processing cores to analyze millions of images and form thousands of associations. The pearls of wisdom derived include such as: "Airbus_330" can be a kind of / look similar to "airplane", or "Leaning_tower" can be found in "Pisa". Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Department of Defense is funding the effort.

Submission + - Lethal Injection: Compounding the Problem (economist.com) 1

Rambo Tribble writes: The Economist reports on the increasingly difficult time states are having obtaining drugs to implement lethal-injection executions. Many of the larger pharmaceutical houses will not or cannot provide the requisite drugs when destined for that purpose. As an alternative, the states are turning to compounding pharmacies. A shadowy marketplace is evolving, with attempts being made to hide the drugs' origins. Of course, lawsuits and legal maneuvers are flying thick and fast.

Submission + - Amazon: A Crazy Place to Work (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: The BBC is reporting that an investigation into a UK-based Amazon facility has uncovered conditions that experts believe foster mental illness. At the root of the problem seems to be unreasonable performance expectations combined with a fundamentally dehumanizing environment.

Comment I call them "neo-feudalists" ... (Score 4, Insightful) 730

... and they have been with us since before the U. S. Constitution was signed. They had a defining influence on that document, leading to a significant disconnect between it and the principles found in the Declaration of Independence.

It was these individuals who invited the King of Prussia to reign over the new United States and it was they who opposed the Bill of Rights. Bear in mind that no small number of the wealthy who came to American shores did so to establish themselves as the new plutocratic aristocracy. Often, they had in their pockets grants of land and privileges from the crown.

It is simply a symptom of the times that they are coming out of the closet now, though their influence has always been with us. Take for instance, Leo Strauss' embrace of the Platonic "noble lie", which was a touchstone for legitimizing nobility's grip on power long before there was a United States of America.

Submission + - Intel Opens Doors to Rivals, Maybe (oregonlive.com)

Rambo Tribble writes: In what appears to be a major reversal of policy, Intel's new president, Renee James, has indicated that Intel will be open to manufacturing chips based on rivals' designs. While the language is a bit tentative, this appears to open an opportunity for such as ARM to benefit from Intel's manufacturing expertise and technology.

Submission + - Google Patents Robotic Ghost Writer (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: In what may amount to a tacit admission that "social" media has spiralled out of an individual's control, Google has taken out a patent on a robotic writer to impersonate you. The software analyzes your posts and responses, then generates replies for you, perhaps allowing you more personal time to develop an actual life. Gives new meaning to the question, "Is it live or is it Memorex?"

Submission + - Mars Rock Older Than Thought (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: The BBC reports on a finding, reported in Nature, (abstract, here), that the so-called "Black Beauty" rock, discovered in the Sahara, is over twice as old as previously thought. The meteorite is now thought to be 4.4 billion years old, dating from a time in a nascent Mars' history that scientists are eager to know more about.

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