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Government

Submission + - 22 Million missing emails from Bush Administration (foxnews.com)

GNUALMAFUERTE writes: "Twenty-two million missing e-mails from the Bush White House have been found, according to two groups that are settling lawsuits they filed over the issue. A former Bush spokesman, though, dismissed the claim as overblown.

The announcement came from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, both of which were settling lawsuits they filed in 2007 over the failure of the Bush White House to install an electronic record keeping system. The groups said computer technicians uncovered the missing e-mails.

Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

"We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved.""

Censorship

Submission + - Australian Internet Filtering Scheme Gets Green Li (theage.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Yes, folks, it's true: the Australian Government, on the back of the technical trials, has declared that it will be introducing legislation to make Internet filtering mandatory for all Australian ISPs. Watch the speed of Australian 'net access slow significantly; innocent websites get blocked; and the bad guys accessing the stuff they want regardless. Sigh. Anybody have a good job going in New Zealand, by any chance?
Censorship

Submission + - Internet Censorship for Australia gets greenlight. (smh.com.au)

taksraven writes: The Australian Federal Government has announced that it is going to go ahead with plans to filter the internet for all Australians. This is despite the fact that it has been shown by previously released lists, that more than just child porn sites would be blocked.

Submission + - Australian Gov introduces mandatory ISP filtering (computerworld.com.au)

Sharky2009 writes: The Australia Government will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block Refused Classification (RC)-rated material hosted on overseas servers. The introduction of mandatory ISP-level filtering follows the release of the Enex TestLab report which trialed the viability of ISP-level filtering among nine Australian ISPs.

Submission + - Manditory Net filter to be introduced in Australia

An anonymous reader writes: New legislative amendments to be introduced to the Broadcasting Services Act when parliament resumes next year could see all internet service providers block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/isp-filtering-plan-to-go-ahead/story-e6frgakx-1225810665832

Submission + - Australian internet censorship to go ahead (itnews.com.au)

rocketpants writes: Hot on the heals of the proposed, and long awaited R18+ rating for games in Australia, the government has announced it will proceed with it's controversial internet filtering policy. Legislation will be introduced next year to force ISPs to filter all refused-classification material.
Earth

UK Royal Society Claims Geo-Engineering Feasible 316

krou writes "The BBC is reporting that a UK Royal Society report claims that geo-engineering proposals to combat the effects of climate change are 'technically possible.' Three of the plans considered showed the most promise: 'CO2 capture from ambient air'; enhancing 'natural reactions of CO2 from the air with rocks and minerals'; and 'Land use and afforestation'. They also noted that solar radiation management, while some climate models showed them to be ineffective, should not be ignored. Possible suggestions included: 'a giant mirror on the Moon; a space parasol made of superfine aluminum mesh; and a swarm of 10 trillion small mirrors launched into space one million at a time every minute for the next 30 years.'"
Security

The Neurological Basis of Con Games 218

Hugh Pickens writes "If we humans have such big brains, how can we get conned? Neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak has an interesting post on Psychology Today in which he recounts how he was the victim of a classic con called 'The Pigeon Drop' when he was a teenager and explains how con men take advantage of the Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System, called THOMAS, a powerful brain circuit that releases the neurochemical oxytocin when we are trusted and induces a desire to reciprocate the trust we have been shown. 'The key to a con is not that you trust the con man, but that he shows he trusts you. Con men ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable,' writes Zak. 'Because of THOMAS, the human brain makes us feel good when we help others — this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers.' Zak's laboratory studies have shown that two percent of the college students he tested are 'unconditional nonreciprocators' who have learned how to simulate trustworthiness and would make good con men. Watch a video of Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer running the classic pigeon drop on an unsuspecting victim and see if you wouldn't be taken in by a professional con man yourself."
Google

Google Opens Up (Some) Search Algorithms 86

overmars writes "After years of closely guarding the formula for its search algorithms, Google is opening up a little. The search engine company has kept its search formula a closely guarded secret for two reasons: competition and to prevent abuse, said Udi Manber, Google's vice president of engineering, search quality, in a post on the corporate blog. Manber said the blog post is the first part of a renewed effort at the company 'to open up a bit more than we have in the past.' Manber said the most famous part of Google's ranking algorithm is PageRank, an algorithm developed by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. While PageRank is still in use, it is a 'part of a much larger system,' he said. 'Other parts include language models (the ability to handle phrases, synonyms, diacritics, spelling mistakes, and so on), query models (it's not just the language, it's how people use it today), time models (some queries are best answered with a 30-minutes old page, and some are better answered with a page that stood the test of time), and personalized models (not all people want the same thing),' he said."
Robotics

Robot Rebellion Quelled in Iraq 317

opencity writes "The Register reports that the (perhaps inevitable) robot rebellion has been avoided ... for now. 'Ground-crawling US war robots armed with machine guns, deployed to fight in Iraq last year, reportedly turned on their fleshy masters almost at once. The rebellious machine warriors have been retired from combat pending upgrades.' Gizmodo also has a good photo."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Nuclear Scanning Catches a Radioactive Cat On I-5 594

Jeff recommends Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat's story from a community meeting with Northwest border control agents. Seems their monitoring for dirty bombs from the median of Interstate 5 caught a car transporting a radioactive cat. "It turns out the feds have been monitoring Interstate 5 for nuclear 'dirty bombs.' They do it with radiation detectors so sensitive it led to the following incident. 'Vehicle goes by at 70 miles per hour... Agent is in the median, a good 80 feet away from the traffic. Signal went off and identified an isotope [in the passing car]. The agent raced after the car, pulling it over not far from the monitoring spot.' Did he find a nuke? 'Turned out to be a cat with cancer that had undergone a radiological treatment three days earlier.'"
Technology

Silent Microchip 'Fan' Has No Moving Parts 136

Stony Stevenson writes "Researchers in the US have developed a microchip fan with no moving parts that operates silently and generates enough wind to cool a laptop computer. The solid-state fan, developed with support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), is touted as the most powerful and energy efficient fan of its size. The device produces three times the flow rate of a typical small mechanical fan and is one-fourth the size. The technology has the power to cool a 25W chip with a device smaller than one cubic-cm and can someday be integrated into silicon to make self-cooling chips, according to the researchers."
The Internet

Paying People to Argue With You 397

Bennett Haselton has written in with an essay on a strange experiment on-line. He starts When you first hear about Amazon.com's "Mechanical Turk" service, which allows "requesters" to pay "Turk workers" a few pennies to complete some task which is hard to automate but easy for humans, what's the first application that comes to your mind? The system has been discussed previously on Slashdot, but I'll bet a week's wages for a Mechanical Turk worker ($1.45, according to one of them) that I was the first person who used it to pay people to write rebuttals to one of my arguments. Keep reading unless you want to fight about it.

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