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Patents

Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging the Least Influential 259

theodp writes "In the world envisioned by Microsoft's just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or $25 for the identical item based on the influence the purchaser wields. A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called 'influence and exploit' strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (PDF). The invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates's pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics."
Privacy

Best Way To Clear Your Name Online? 888

An anonymous reader writes "About fifteen years ago, I did something that I've come to regret on a university computer system. I was subsequently interviewed by a Federal law enforcement agency, although no charges were pressed and I have no criminal record as a result of my actions. At the time, I discussed the matter with a friend of mine who went on to mention it briefly in a text file zine with a small distribution list. I've generally tried to keep a low profile online and until recently there's been very little information about me available from the major search engines. Unfortunately, that zine mention was picked up by textfiles.com at some point and mirrored across the world. I've tried to address this with the owner of the site, but couldn't get anywhere. Even if my name in the source file is altered, cached copies will continue to link me with my youthful mistake. Have any other Slashdot readers had a similar experience? What practical steps would your readers recommend to prevent this information from hurting me? I am concerned that future employers may hold my past actions against me should they look for me online as part of their screening process."
Biotech

Super Strength Substance Approaching Human Trials 425

kkleiner writes "You may remember Liam Hoekstra, the baby apparently born without the myostatin gene, and consequently sporting 40% more skeletal muscle than his peers. Using gene therapy, NCH scientists have been able to get follistatin (a myostatin blocker) to promote phenomenal muscle growth in macaque monkeys. NCH is now working with the FDA to perform the preliminary steps necessary for a human clinical trial. Is this the prelude to a super-strength gene therapy for all of us?"
Power

Japan Eyes Solar Station In Space 247

An anonymous reader writes "By 2030 [Japan] wants to collect solar power in space and zap it down to Earth, using laser beams or microwaves. The government has just picked a group of companies and a team of researchers tasked with turning the ambitious, multi-billion-dollar dream of unlimited clean energy into reality in coming decades."

Comment Re:BS: "tip of the iceberg" (Score 1) 549

Aunt Millie runs 'Doubleplus Dope Recipe Manager 3.0' on her 32-bit PPC-based machine. Aunt Sue wants a copy. Aunt Millie (who couldn't tell you what CPU is in her computer if you put a gun to her head) knows that she can drag a copy of DDRM3.0 from her Applications directory to a USB stick and hand the USB stick to Aunt Sue, who can drag DDRM3.0 from the USB stick to her Applications folder on her X86-64-based machine and run it. Neither of them had to run an installer, neither is terribly informed about the architecture of their computer.

Cellphones

Nokia's N-Gage Service To End After 2010 44

negRo_slim writes "Who knew the N-Gage was still kicking? Well apparently it still is — however, it looks like 2010 will be the end. From the announcement: 'While the N-Gage.com site together with the N-Gage Arena and other community features will remain in operation throughout 2010, the Ovi Store will be the new central place for all the mobile games that Nokia and other publishers offer from this point forward. We will no longer publish new games for the N-Gage platform.'"
Wireless Networking

How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA 279

KentuckyFC writes "Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes, paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and 'frisk' people at distance. That's not to mention the great potential they have in medical imaging. Because terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionize electrons, it's easy to dismiss fears over their health effects. And yet the evidence is mixed: some studies have reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, have reported none. Now a team led by Los Alamos National Labs thinks it knows why. They say that although the forces that terahertz waves exert on double-stranded DNA are tiny, in certain circumstances resonant effects can unzip the DNA strands, tearing them apart. This creates bubbles in the strands that can significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. With terahertz scanners already appearing in airports and hospitals, the question that now urgently needs answering is what level of exposure is safe."
The Almighty Buck

Canonical Halts Ubuntu CD Free-for-all 324

Barence writes to tell us that Canonical plans on limiting the number of "free Ubuntu CDs" that people can mooch from the company. The growing popularity of Ubuntu has seen a dramatic increase in the number of CDs being shipped via the free "ShipIt" scheme. The only people able to take advantage of this program now will be the usual community teams, contributors, and first-time Ubuntu users. "'While these CDs are often referred to as 'free CDs,' they are of course not free of cost to Canonical. We want to continue this programme, but Ubuntu’s growth means that some changes are necessary. Therefore we are adjusting how we handle CD requests to try to find the right balance between availability of CDs and the continued viability of the ShipIt program,' [Canonical's chief operating officer Jane Silber] adds. Extra CD copies of Ubuntu will still be available for purchase through the Canonical store, although they need to be bought in bulk. Five copies of the open-source operating system will cost £5 exc VAT and shipping."
The Internet

Geocities Shutting Down Today 396

Paolo DF writes "Geocities is closing today. Its advent in 1995 was a sign of the rising 'Internet for everyone' era, when connection speeds were 1,000x or 2,000x slower than is common today. You may love it or hate it, but millions of people had their first contact with a Web presence right here. I know that Geocities is something that most Slashdotters will see as a n00b thing — the Internet was fine before Geocities — but nevertheless I think that some credit is due. Heck, there's even a modified xkcd homepage to mark the occasion." Reader commodore64_love notes a few more tributes around the Web. Last spring we discussed Yahoo's announcment that Geocities would be going away.

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