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Submission + - Ireland's Blasphemy law comes in to effect. (blasphemy.ie)

stereoroid writes: As of January 1, it is a crime in Ireland to commit Blasphemy. The law was changed in July 2009 to fill a gap in the Irish Constitution, which states that it is a crime but does not define what it is, an omission highlighted in a Supreme Court decision in 1999. A July story in the Irish Independent described the situation in more detail. The story has also been covered in The Guardian (UK) today.

To mark the occasion, Atheist Ireland published a list of 25 blasphemous quotations on the blasphemy.ie website, from such controversial figures as Bjork, Frank Zappa, Richard Dawkins, Randy Newman, and Pope Benedict XVI. (The last-mentioned was quoting a 14th Century Byzantine Emperor, but that's no excuse.)

Science

Submission + - How Long Could Luke Skywalker or Anyone Survive in (wolfgnards.com)

Ant writes: "This Wolf Gnards asks "How Long Could Luke Survive in a Tauntaun?" and answers with:

"All good Jedi know that the best way to survive a snow storm is in the snugly belly of your nearest Tauntaun. Just cut open with your handy dandy light saber, a single horizontal slice across the midsection will do, push squirming intestines aside, and crawl right in. Warm as it is comfortable, the intestines mold to your body like a memory foam mattress. But how long could you survive in a Tauntaun?

Realistically, the sub-zero environment of Hoth is no place to be, Tauntaun or not. And it's important to remember that Luke Skywalker didn't need to survive in his Tauntaun over night, he simply needed a warm place to be until Han had time to build a proper shelter. So, the better question might be, how long did Han have to build a snow shelter until Luke was in serious trouble."

Seen on Boing Boing."

Comment Re:AOL (Score 1) 430

I'm glad they're mostly gone. They wouldn't move past their little cabal when the web started exploding. Then they tried to force you to use their terribly awful browser, hobbling the internet for developers for quite a while.

Many people, my parents included, still use AOL for mail. It's free now, but it's still horrible. If you've read a message and don't keep it as new or save it, it will delete it for you after a short while. Google gives out gigs of mail and AOL is still deleting 3kb messages you read.

Then, their is their worst sin of all. They bought and killed The ImagiNation Network . That was an amazing service at the time, especially multiplayer RedBaron. They could have turned that into a real property with their size. Instead they killed it.

The only thing they did of popularity these days is AIM, and I think that may have been a simple size thing. Sure ICQ was popular first, but AOL was what got millions of people to instant messages and made it friendly (as opposed to being person 19305359).

If they didn't have all the ads on AIM, they probably would have died a couple of years ago.

Submission + - What Would Have Entered the Public Domain Tomorrow (duke.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: "Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe’s Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson’s Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney’s Peter Pan, The Crucible"... "How ironic that Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, with its book burning firemen, was published in 1953 and would once have been entering the public domain on January 1, 2010. To quote James Boyle, "Bradbury’s firemen at least set fire to their own culture out of deep ideological commitment, vile though it may have been. We have set fire to our cultural record for no reason; even if we had wanted retrospectively to enrich the tiny number of beneficiaries whose work keeps commercial value beyond 56 years, we could have done so without these effects. The ironies are almost too painful to contemplate."
Microsoft

Submission + - All Quiet on the CodePlex Front: 100 Days No Board (consortiuminfo.org)

Andy Updegrove writes: As you may recall, Microsoft announced back on September 10 that it had launched a new, open source organization called the CodePlex Foundation. Since then, it has announced Project Acceptance and Operation Guidelines, its first "Gallery" (a project area), supporting Microsoft's ASP.NET, and two projects in that gallery. But it had also launched in a "less than open" state with an interim Board of Directors, and a promise to elect a permanent one in 100 days. Problem is, December 19 — the 100 day mark — passed quietly, with no announcement of a new Board or a status update on the other goals it had set for the launch period. So what's up with the CodePlex Foundation, and its pledge to promptly transition into a more independent organization?
Windows

Submission + - Windows ignores microsoft.com in hosts file

An anonymous reader writes: If you try to block microsoft.com in your hosts file, windows will just ignore the entry. On Vistas Windows Defender even steps in and tries to stop you from adding microsoft.com to the hosts file, but even if you ignore Defender microsoft.com will still work as if the entry wasn't there.
Media

Submission + - The End of Free OTA TV? (sfvbj.com) 1

Caldeso writes: The San Fernando Valley Business Journal is predicting (free registration required) that Comcast's purchase of NBC spells the end of free-as-in-beer over the air broadcasts from ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Currently, the networks are allowed free broadcast rights by the FCC in exchange for showing the daily news, but Rupert Murdoch is one of many who believe that the recent drop in advertising revenues means that quality reporting will no longer be affordable for the networks, eventually costing them broadcast rights.
Google

Submission + - Google Nexus Rumored to Cost $530 or $180 w/ Plan (wired.com)

wkurzius writes: The new Google phone, the Nexus One, is rumored to cost $530 dollars unlocked and will work on any GSM network. A subsidized version is also available for $180 and will get you a T-Mobile Even More Individual 500 Plan for 2-years with a $350 termination fee. Access to the phone is supposed to be invite only at first, with January 5th being the supposed release date.

Submission + - Midwest Seeing Red Over 'Green' Traffic Lights 2

theodp writes: Many municipalities have switched to LED traffic signals because they burn brighter, last longer and use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. But they also emit less heat, meaning they sometimes have trouble melting snow, causing problems across the Midwest. In Wisconsin, snow blanketed LED traffic lights in some towns, leading to crashes at intersections where drivers weren't sure whether to stop or go. The unintended consequences of the green technology were also identified as a 'contributing factor' in the death of an Illinois woman hit by a driver who blamed the snow-covered energy-efficient signal for giving the appearance of a normal green light instead of a left-turn signal. 'We can remove the snow with heat, but the cost of doing that in terms of energy use has not brought any enthusiasm from cities and states that buy these signals,' said the CEO of an LED traffic-signal manufacturer. 'They'd like to be able to take away this issue, but they don't want to spend the money and lose the savings.' In the meantime, some towns are addressing sporadic problems by dispatching crews to remove snow or ice from signals using poles, brooms, and heating devices.

Submission + - SPAM: Adobe Flash HD-Video GPU Acceleration Guide

Das Capitolin writes: Let's think the first words coming to our minds when reading: Adobe Flash Player. Youtube, Hulu, vimeo, HD videos might be some of them. If you dont understand or relate this words you probably live under a rock or have been out of the game, and by game I mean technology world, for a long time. In our AVIVO Purevideo DXVA HD Acceleration Guide we show you how to use your GPU to playback and enhance many kinds of video formats, normally used on DVDs and Blu-Rays, but not limited to them. The benefit is clear. As long as you can use your graphics card to playback your videos instead of using the CPU, you are doing things easier for your machine, thus consuming less energy and freeing your CPU to do other stuff at the same time.

This was the original idea of the DXVA technology. But what happens to the rest of the content we normally watch at the web? Flash is one of the biggest and more used formats today. Youtube being ranked 4th (by traffic stats) is knocking hard at our doors asking for some attention. Some other sites like Hulu (USA) or vimeo have enormous quantities of traffic also, and it wouldnt be a problem if they werent constantly evolving and offering better quality services. For example, Youtube just went up to 1080p support the last month. But I fear 1080p isnt an easy task for a mid-low CPU, it is? The answer to all this is very simple: DXVA for Adobe Flash Player, and that's what we are testing today in our Adobe Flash GPU Acceleration Guide at Benchmark Reviews.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - OnLive One Step Closer (dslreports.com)

hysma writes: It looks like OnLive, the remote gaming system that steams HD video over the Internet, is one step closer to becoming reality, according to an article on DSL Reports in response to a presentation by Founder & CEO Steve Perlman at Columbia University.
IT

Submission + - Uniforms for the Help Desk 5

An anonymous reader writes: I am an IT worker in a mid sized company with approximately 500 employees. There are 30 people on the IT staff, 6 of which are on the help desk. Our help desk does have significant visibility in the company, and most people know us by face (some by name). Recently the idea has been floated up the management chain to have these help desk workers wear IT department branded shirts. The idea is to promote visibility and unity. Wearing of these shirts would be mandatory Monday through Thursday. The shirts would not be identical (there would be several styles offered). We would be the only department with specific garments outside of the normal business casual dress code.

Is management out of line with the industry in promoting this sort of policy change? Is the singling out of 6 employees as "the IT guys" a step in the right direction, or does it detract from the professionalism that we are trying to display as a department?

Submission + - Court Orders Shutdown of H-1B Critics' Websites 1

theodp writes: Computerworld reports that a NJ Superior Court Judge ordered hosting firms to shut down three Web sites that oppose the H-1B visa program and seeks information about the identity of anonymous posters. GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Comcast and DiscountASP.Net were ordered to disable ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com. Facebook Inc. was also ordered to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page. The judge's order was made in response to a libel lawsuit filed by Apex Technology Group Inc., which is citing its copyright ownership as it seeks the identity of the poster of a since-removed Apex employment agreement on Docstoc.com, which drew critical comments on U.S. and India websites.
Communications

Submission + - Wired's Favorite 20 iPhone Apps, What Are Yours? (wired.com)

" rel="nofollow">ScuttleMonkey writes: "As 2009 draws to a close Wired has chosen their favorite iPhone apps. What can't you live without on your smartphone? "2009 was the “year of the app,” especially for the iPhone, whose App Store is overflowing with more than 100,000 offerings. While it’s easy to make fun of the more ridiculous apps, some truly stellar wares stood out from that massive pile, and we’re taking the time to honor them. [...] The Wired staff has chosen its 20 favorite apps, broken into separate categories: productivity, games, hobbies, and travel and outdoors. These are apps we deemed exceptional either for their innovation, elegant design, usefulness or a combination of all these qualities.""

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