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Submission + - Ron Paul Opposes SOPA (

sfcrazy writes: Now, SOPA has got attention of a heavyweight in the US politics — Republican Ron Paul, who despite being a Republican is known for his 'liberal' views. Paul may or may not fully understand the 'implications' of the dangerous bill but he did point out that the bill will "take over the Internet" and "monitor everything we do". 'I fear the undermining of protection of the right here at home.'

Submission + - This Guy Died This Year: Cartoonist Bil Keane 1

theodp writes: 'Bil Keane,' writes Tom Socca and Joe MacLeod in their This Guy Died This Year tribute, 'was known, among his fellow professional cartoonists, as a funny, funny man. His life's work, in The Family Circus, was to hide that fact from as many people as possible.' But for all their adult goofing on the Circus, Socca and MacLeod confess that as kids they were fans, 'pulled into the circle by Billy's dotted-line trails [inspiration for iPhone tracking?] and the devilish antics of the invisible goblin NOT ME.' Cartoonist Lynda Barry, still a fan, found refuge in the world of The Family Circus, where 'No one's getting hit. No one's yelling.' Soccca and MacLeod also liked that Bil Keane would let you make fun of him and enjoyed parodies like The Dysfunctional Family Circus and take-offs from other cartoonists, including Scott Adams and Kevin Siers.

Submission + - HEATBALL ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: This is just too good to be true. And they say that "Nature will find a way." ...After the European Union banned conventional incandescent bulbs, Rotthaeuser's entrepreneurial spirit was sparked. He started selling another product: heatballs.

What's a heatball? According to this Teutonic Knight of Freedom and Light, it is a "small heating device" that compensates for the loss of heat a home experiences when conventional light bulbs are swapped for more energy efficient ones.

I hope that he becomes the richest man in the world from this.


Submission + - Iran ex-president's website censored and then shut (

kaptink writes: A website ( belonging to Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has criticised the current regime, has been shut down, his brother told the ISNA news agency yesterday. Rafsanjani has come under attack for his backing of opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi in the 2009 presidential election and also for criticizing the postelection crackdown.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content.

The company providing services to Rafsanjani's site called and said they've been ordered to cut services to the site. "Fifteen minutes later, the site was out of service" ISNA quoted the brother as saying.

"We are going to see on Saturday who gave that order." — He explained that Iran's internet surveillance commission sent an email several days ago requesting that some of the content posted on the site be taken down, specifically speeches made by Rafsanjani during prayers. Hashemi said the request was denied.

Since the election, Iran has blocked dozens of opposition websites, including the website of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Opposition members believe Ahmadinejad’s re-election was fraudulent.

A conservative website accused Rafsanjani’s website of seeking to create rifts within the hardline camp ahead of March 12 parliamentary elections.

“Rafsanjani’s site is making efforts to create differences among (conservatives),” the website,, said late Thursday.

Registration of candidates for the election ends Friday. The country’s major reformist groups are staying out of the race, claiming that basic requirements for free and fair elections have not been met.

In their absence, the poll for the 290-seat assembly is likely to pit candidates who remain staunchly loyal to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei against those who support Ahmadinejad.

Hashemi says that after the webmaster of the ex-president's website failed to obey authorities' demand to remove the sermons, the website was blocked. He says the order came in an e-mail.

He calls the decision "illegal."

"It wasn't a legal order. In addition, it is not clear who ordered it," Hashemi says.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - Warrantless wiretaping decisions issued by Ninth C (

sunbird writes: "The Ninth Circuit yesterday issued two decisions in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuits against the National Security Agency (Jewel v. NSA) and the telecommunications companies (Hepting v. AT&T). EFF had argued in Hepting that the retroactive immunity passed by Congress was unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit decision (.pdf) upholds the immunity and the district court's dismissal of the case. Short of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, this effectively ends the suit against the telecoms. In much better news, the same panel issued a decision (.pdf) reversing the dismissal of the lawsuit against the N.S.A. and remanded the case back to the lower court for more proceedings. These cases have been previously discussed here ."

Submission + - Orangutans to Skype between zoos with iPads (

MrSeb writes: "For the last six months, orangutans — those great, hairy, orange apes that go “ook” a lot — at Milwaukee zoo have been playing games and watching videos on Apple’s (seemingly ubiquitous) iPad, but now their keepers and the charity Orangutan Outreach want to go one step further and enable ape-to-ape video chat via Skype or FaceTime. "The orangutans loved seeing videos of themselves — so there is a little vanity going on — and they like seeing videos of the orangutans who are in the other end of the enclosure," Richard Zimmerman of Orangutan Outreach said. "So if we incorporate cameras, they can watch each other." And thus the idea of WiFi video chat between orangutans — and eventually between zoos — was born. It might seem like folly, but putting (ruggedized!) iPads into the hands of apes could really revolutionize our understanding of great ape behavior — and thus our own behavior, too."

Submission + - Ubuntu AppStore Goes Online (

sfcrazy writes: One thing that GNU/Linux misses the most is marketing. We never get to know about the new and useful tools which are being added due to the lack of PR muscles. Recently Ubuntu made yet another incredible move which makes the application installation process of Windows look ancient. Ubuntu silently took its apps on-line by launching 'Ubuntu App Directory' (the name can be more attractive like Ubuntu App Shop).

Submission + - Unified Theory of Climate (

sanzibar writes: Very interesting poster presented at the Open Science Conference of the World Climate Research Program, 24 October 2011, Denver CO, USA

Recent studies revealed that Global Climate Models (GCMs) have significantly overestimated the Planet’s warming since 1979 failing to predict the observed halt of global temperature rise over the past 13 years. (e.g. McKitrick et al. 2010). No consensus currently exists as to why the warming trend ceased in 1998 despite a continued increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Moreover, the CO2-temperature relationship shows large inconsistencies across time scales. In addition, GCM projections heavily depend on positive feedbacks, while satellite observations indicate that the climate system is likely governed by strong negative feedbacks (Lindzen & Choi 2009; Spencer & Braswell 2010). At the same time, there is a mounting political pressure for Cap-and-Trade legislation and a global carbon tax, while scientists and entrepreneurs propose geo-engineering solutions to cool the Planet that involve large-scale physical manipulation of the upper atmosphere. This unsettling situation calls for a thorough reexamination of the present climate-change paradigm; hence the reason for this study.


Submission + - My Wife Wants to Learn Programming 3

CrankyFool writes: Me: Been around computers for most of my adult life; most of it in IT, but spent some time doing QA and software development

My wife: Not so much. She's an attorney, for heavens' sake. But she's got an interest in technical/geek things (and most of her friends are tech/geeks).

So my wife wants to learn programming, for some amorphous reasons. In her words, "I just want to see if I can learn it and do cool things with it." How's that for vague?

She's got an Android phone and a Windows PC, in case it matters. I can, obviously, easily give her access to a UNIX system if it makes a difference.

Anyone have any suggestions? She thought she'd start with C++, which struck me as ENTIRELY INSANE. I'm thinking maybe Scala (which I don't know) or Python (which I do), but ... it's been a long time since I've thought about how to get started in programming.

Submission + - Astronaut Photos Comet Lovejoy... From Space (

astroengine writes: "The sungrazing comet that survived the plunge deep into the solar corona, only to escape after swinging behind the sun last week, has posed for an extraordinary photograph. Space station commander Dan Burbank caught Comet Lovejoy and its impressive tail hanging above the Earth's horizon as it begins its long journey back into deep space."

Submission + - Russians Put New "Satan" Nuke Into Play (

Gustavicles writes: "Russia, frustrated with anti-nuke talks with the United states has decided to put an end to the talks and move forward with its plans to upgrade its nuclear defensive and offensive systems, including the construction on a new and more powerful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Nicknamed “Satan” by Western intelligence, the new missile carries a 100-ton warhead. This giant ICBM will take its place at the head of an already impressive missile arsenal which includes the Yars, Topol-M and Bulava-class ballistic missiles sometime in 2015.

This announcement come on the heels of a US announcement that its last B-53 nuclear weapon has been dismantled. The B-53 was the largest hydrogen bomb in the US arsenal."


Submission + - SPAM: US states, cities making new laws on undocumented

dickthomas83 writes: "Immigrant crackdowns by several US states--Some of the US states involved in passing such laws aimed at undocumented immigrants include North Carolina, Texas and Arizona without direction from the federal government. So, with an increasing scarcity of jobs in the US worsening day by day, the issue of dealing with undocumented immigration is no longer restricted only to border states."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - How To Avoid SOPA Censors (

itwbennett writes: "While you're on hold waiting to give your Congressperson an earfull about SOPA, there are a few things you can do to keep censors from knowing what you're up to online, says blogger Kevin Fogarty. For one, you can 'use an encrypted VPN connection to a free or paid proxy server that gives you an IP address from somewhere you definitely are not.' Or you can grab a Firefox add-on — either DeSopa or The Pirate Bay Dancing will do the trick."
The Military

Submission + - Iraq War Ends. Did the US Win? 7

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "As the last American troops exit Iraq, two questions come to mind: Was the war worth it? And did the US, in any sense, win? "The two questions, of course, are related: The first concerns cost, the second benefits," writes Fred Kaplan. "However you do the calculation, it’s clear that the decision to invade Iraq was a major strategic blunder—and that the policies we pursued in the early months of the occupation tipped the blunder into a catastrophe." After Paul Bremer issued Order No. 1 barring members of the once-ruling Baathist party from holding any but the lowliest of government jobs and Order No. 2 disbanding the Iraqi army, tens of thousands of Iraqis, most of them young men with weapons were turned out into the streets, officially disenfranchised and, in many cases, eager to rebel against the agents of their fate. An insurgency arose and there were no Iraqi security forces to clamp it down. But Bush changed course dramatically at the end of 2006 ordering a “surge” of 20,000 extra troops in support of a new counterinsurgency strategy, a gamble that paid off as many Sunni leaders—beginning in Anbar province, which had been one of Iraq’s most violent sectors—suddenly realized that the foreign jihadists, with whom they’d struck an alliance, formed a bigger threat than the American occupiers, and so they turned to the U.S. troops for help. The good news is that there is now a functioning Iraqi government. "The means and institutions do exist for resolving these problems mainly through politics," concludes Kaplan but "failure to resolve the disputes in the halls of politics may spur the most militant constituents—of whom there are many—to revive their armed struggles in the streets.""

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