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Communications

Submission + - GapMinder (Human Development statistics for All)

Alex Unger writes: "Gapminder emerges as a way for everyday internet users to view statistics about the health and progress of our planet. Now the data published in the UN report on Human Development can be viewed graphically and easily by everyone in the world not just those willing to spend endless hour analyzing data.
Visit http://tools.google.com/gapminder and http://gapminder.org/ to see all of Gapminder's work.

From Article at techweb.com: http://www.techweb.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID =196602724
'The 2006 report (hdr.undp.org) focuses on the (un)availability of clean water and basic sanitation services worldwide. The New York Times coverage states, "A third of people have no decent place to use the bathroom, and the human cost is great." The annual development reports offer a careful problem presentation in narrative form. UNDP uses charts and graphics effectively and accessibly to complement and enhance the text. But it's a series of accompanying Flash presentations created by Swedish nonprofit Gapminder that really catch your eye.
Visit gapminder.org and view some of the 2005 Human Development Trends presentations. Animations graphically depict change over time using helpful explanatory text. They cleverly use color and symbol shape in addition to two spatial axes to present a total of five data dimensions in the chart. As a user, you control presentation pace and can raise annotations that describe data points. But you're never left to your own devices. The presentation brings you forward and doesn't let you drown in a sea of complicated data.'"
Java

Submission + - A Pop-up Window That Doesn't Suck

Dolores Parker writes: "Want to add a couple of cool features to your Web site without delving into the world of Web programing? In this case, you might want to give GreyBox a try. It's a tiny (only 22KB) JavaScript-based tool, released under the LGPL, that allows you to add page-in-a-page and gallery features using just a few easy-to-understand lines of code (check GreyBox' Web site for some examples). Read more at Newsforge.com"
United States

Submission + - 26 Internet policy tips for the new Congress

Rigabov writes: "In the coming months, the 110th Congress will be faced with decisions on issues ranging from surveillance, to online censorship, to consumer privacy that will have a lasting impact on the Internet. The Center for democracy and technology has 26 suggestion to help the Congress face those tough policy challenges. Here are the recommendations are at a glance, and here you may read the full report.

Examples include:
  • Congress Should Not Prevent Minors from Using Blogs and Social Networking Sites
  • Congress Should Enact Strong Data Breach Legislation
  • Congress Should Establish Strong Privacy Protections for Information Sharing for Counter-terrorism Purposes
  • Congress Should Monitor Developments in the Broadband Market
  • Congress Should Adopt Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports
"
Sony

Submission + - Blue Ray beaten by...Print Screen

An anonymous reader writes: German mag C't has discovered you can record protected high-def flicks in full resolution via automating the print screen function of the provided Intervideo WinDVD software. Both Sony's Vaio and Toshiba's Qosmio laptops with Blu-ray and HD DVD drives respectively come bundled with the software, and are vulnerable to the hack. Quite simply, it can be used to capture the movies frame-by-frame, and then reassembled to create the entire movie. Not the most elegant solution, but they claim it works. http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/07/07/blu-ray-and-h d-dvd-copy-protection-defeated-by-print-screen/
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Bizarre Fixes for Bizzare Problems

tezbobobo writes: I recently have been trying to access a damaged 2.5" harddrive when I came across a suggestion to freeze it and use a cavity. It worked like a charm. More bizarrely I came across this fix for a broken ibook recently and was wondering what else is out there. You know, strange solutions to strange problems.
Biotech

Submission + - Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise

waterford0069 writes: "Researchers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada have developed a post exposure vaccine against Ebola which is at least 50% effective in animal models. While there are other treatments for Ebola such as coagulation inhibitors (33% effective) and antisense drugs (75% effective), it is hoped that this post exposure vaccine can help to treat Ebola in the same manner as rabies and smallpox are treated in humans."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Barnes and Noble Refuses to Refund Lost Package

Flavio Ribeiro writes: "On September 2006 I ordered $300 worth of books from Barnes & Noble. I've been ordering books online regularly for about 10 years, but this was my first order from B&N. I'm a grad student on a budget, so I payed for the cheapest shipping. Since I'm overseas and I've had packages take almost 3 months to arrive, I waited diligently. When nothing arrived, I e-mailed B&N. This is the response I got:
The package has not been returned to our warehouse as undeliverable to the shipping address you provided. (...) When no delivery confirmation is available, we will refund a lost package up to sixty (60) days after the expected delivery date. As it is now beyond sixty days, kindly contact your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.
My second attempt to contact B&N was answered with the same pre-written message, which I find quite insulting. My credit card issuer (Credicard Citi) refuses to dispute the charge, as is their policy with all charges. The fact I payed with Paypal also complicates matters. Additionally, Paypal automatically deferred and closed the claim I filed with them. The way I see this, B&N failed to deliver the purchased items, and refuses to take any action. They set an arbitrary short deadline that exempts them from further responsibility, which lets them bully international customers. This practice would never work out if B&N were a local company, since I'd be able to file claims at the local equivalent of the BBB.

I need your advice. What can I do to get a refund?"
Math

Submission + - A new view of quantum mechanics

Falladir writes: "Physicist Anton Zeilinger has proposed a new way of looking at quantum mechanics, in which a system with one qubit of information is the fundamental unit.

"Zeilinger's single, simple principle leads to these three cornerstones of quantum mechanics: quantisation, uncertainty and entanglement. What, then, of the more formal elements of quantum mechanics such as wave functions and Schrödinger's equation — the bread and butter of atomic physicists?"

Zeilinger discards Hilbert space, in favor of what he calls "information space." The state of a system is a point in information space. The point moves, over time, as the system evolves. This movement is governed by the classical principles of motion, and under translation from information space to Hilbert space, these classical laws derive Schroedinger's equation."
Handhelds

Submission + - Man badly burnt after mobile phone catches fire

ztransform writes: "According to this article a man in California has suffered burns to 50% of his body after a mobile phone he was carrying in a pocket caught fire.

The article states that authorities declined to name the phone's manufacturer and model. Imagine the value of shares in any named company following the many recent reports of laptop battery recalls."
Security

Submission + - 56,000+ MySpace Usernames and Passwords Phished.

HT writes: "A MySpace phishing attempt (or success, depending on how you look at it) has made 56000 usernames and passwords available to the public. The list has been distributed via the popular security mailing list. You have to wonder when people will learn to check their address bar."
Software

Submission + - Scott Rosenberg: What Makes Software So Hard

Anonymous writes: CIOInsight.com has an interesting Q&A with Scott Rosenberg, founding editor of Salon.com and author of the book "Dreaming in Code." Rosenberg talks about the book and his thoughts on how to make create a more reliable process for software development.

Says Rosenberg: "The idea is that if we're going to turn the creation of software into a true science, we need to first have principles. We need to know the fundamentals and formulas by which software behaves. What are the laws and principles we can count on in creating it? The problem is that software is not a thing, not a preexisting phenomenon of the universe; it's a product of the human imagination...computer science today accepts the file system as if it were some law of nature, and it's not. Every aspect of software is a human construct. "
User Journal

Journal Journal: How Bell Labs blew the microchip

The December 2006 issue of IEEE Spectrum carries an article about the life and tragic death of Jack A. Morton, of Bell Labs: How Bell Labs Missed the Microchip. It includes "On integrated circuits in particular, Morton exhibited serious blind spots that cost the parent phone company, AT&T, dearly--and may have contributed to its eventual dismemberment."

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