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Comment Re:Vision is not the only immersion factor. (Score 1) 130

For the record that music is from the movie Where Eagles Dare , starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. It's a pretty entertaining WWII yarn, especially when the music swells and you hear that iconic drum roll. I didn't know about the movie until late one night when I was in my twenties I caught it on cable and said, "Hey, that's the music from Wolfenstein!" It's one of my favorites now.


Iran Moves To End "Facebook Revolution" 838

We've had a few readers send in updates on the chaotic post-election situation in Iran. Twitter is providing better coverage than CNN at the moment. There are both tech and humanitarian angles to the story, as the two samples below illustrate. First, Hugh Pickens writes with a report from The Times (UK) that "the Iranian government is mounting a campaign to disrupt independent media organizations and Web sites that air doubts about the validity of the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the nation's president. Reports from Tehran say that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were taken down after Mr Ahmadinejad claimed victory. SMS text messaging, a preferred medium of communication for young Iranians, has also been disabled. 'The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up, according to Reporters Without Borders. 'The Internet is now very slow, like the mobile phone network. YouTube and Facebook are hard to access and pro-reform sites... are completely inaccessible.'" And reader momen abdullah sends in one of the more disturbing Ask Slashdots you are likely to see. "People, we need your urgent help in Iran. We are under attack by the government. They stole the election. And now are arresting everybody. They also filtered every sensitive Web page. But our problem is that they also block the SMS network and are scrambling satellite TVs. Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points? Can anybody show us a link on how to install small TV/radio stations? Any suggestion for setting up a network? Please tell us what to do or we are going to die in the a nuclear war between Iran and US." Update: 06/14 18:32 GMT by KD : Jim Cowie contributes a blog post from Renesys taking a closer look at the state of Iranian Internet transit, as seen in the aggregated global routing tables, and concluding that the story may not be as clear-cut as has been reported.

Comment Yes, but... (Score 1) 358

Yes, if they can get some actual science done.

A blind man could see in a minute that there's something going on with the atmosphere. We have all kinds of anecdotal evidence that temperatures are warming. We don't need any more suppositions as to the cause of this trend.

What we desperately need are scientific facts, not predictions based on mathematical models. We've seen what using unsound mathematical models can do in the financial sector. We know from historical records that just within the last thousand years it has been both warmer and cooler than it is now. We need a rigorously tested model that can account for what we already know. The model that generated the famous 'hockey stick' need not apply.

One other thing that would be valuable is a worldwide sensor network to get some rigorously defined temperature data. What we have now is a hodgepodge of airport readings surrounded by asphalt, land grant university instruments in rural locations, and various other methods and locations that don't give us an accurate picture.

In short, if politics and activism can be kept out of a nascent climate service, we might actually learn something useful. We, and by we I mean Americans, need to tackle this problem without bankrupting ourselves. We need to know the facts, and to how many decimal places.


Google To Remove "Inappropriate" Books From Digital Library 192

Miracle Jones writes "In an interview with Professor (and former Microsoft employee) James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School, who is both setting up an online clearinghouse to discuss the Google book settlement and drafting an amicus brief to inform the court about the antitrust factors surrounding "orphan books," he revealed that Google will be able to moderate the content of its book scans in the same way that they moderate their YouTube videos, leaving out works that Google deems "inappropriate" from the 7 million library books it has scanned. The Fiction Circus has called for a two-year long rights auction that will ensure that these "inappropriate" titles do not get left behind in the digital era, and that other people who are willing to host and display these books will be able to do so. There is only one week left for authors and publishers to "opt out" of the settlement class and retain their rights or raise objections, and Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive has been stopped from jumping on board Google's settlement as a party defendant and receiving the same legal protections that Google will get. A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate, has tried to delay the settlement for four more months until they get their minds around the issue." In related news, Google is seeking a 60-day extension to the period in which it's attempting to contact authors to inform them of their right to opt-out of the terms of the settlement.

Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack? 396

Miracle Jones writes "As Amazon struggles to re-list and re-rank gay, lesbian, and adult books on their website after massive public outcry against the secretive partitioning process, they are claiming that the entire situation was not the result of an intentional policy at all, are not apologizing, and are instead insisting that the situation was the result of 'a glitch' that they are now trying to fix. While some hackers are claiming credit for 'amazonfail,' and it is indeed possible that an outside party is responsible, most claims have already been debunked. How likely is it that Amazon was hacked versus the likelihood of an internal Easter weekend glitch? Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"

iTunes Prohibits Terrorism 124

Afforess writes "A recent closer look at the oft-skimmed EULA agreement for iTunes has an interesting paragraph in it, Gizmodo reports. 'You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.' Although humorous, some readers suggested that this may be a defense measure to previously discussed price changes in the iTunes music store."

Could the Internet Be Taken Down In 30 Minutes? 289

GhostX9 writes "Tom's Hardware recently interviewed Dino A. Dai Zovi, a former member of Sandia National Labs' IDART (the guys who test the security of national agencies). Although most of the interview is focused on personal computer security, they asked him about L0pht's claim in 1998 if the Internet could still be taken down in 30 minutes given the advances on both the security and threat sides. He said that the risk was still true."

Google's Plan For Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged 324

Death Metal writes to tell us that a growing tide of complaints are being piled at Google's feet in response to a far-reaching settlement that some feel will grant the giant too much power over the "orphan books" they have been scanning into digital format. The settlement could give Google near-exclusivity with respect to the copyright of orphan works — books that the author and publisher have essentially abandoned. They are out of print, and while they remain under copyright, the rights holders are unknown or cannot be found. "Critics say that without the orphan books, no competitor will ever be able to compile the comprehensive online library Google aims to create, giving the company more control than ever over the realm of digital information. And without competition, they say, Google will be able to charge universities and others high prices for access to its database. The settlement, 'takes the vast bulk of books that are in research libraries and makes them into a single database that is the property of Google,' said Robert Darnton, head of the Harvard University library system. 'Google will be a monopoly.'"

Simonyi Arrives At the ISS After Shuttle Lands 66

RobGoldsmith writes in with news of the further adventures of Charles Simonyi, whose first trip to the ISS we discussed a couple of years ago. The Russian Soyuz vehicle carrying Simonyi and two others docked a day after the US space shuttle Discovery landed in Florida. "Space Adventures, Ltd. ... announced today that its orbital client Charles Simonyi and his crew successfully arrived at the International Space Station after launching on-board the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 26. The spacecraft docked to the ISS at 9:05 am (EDT) with Dr. Simonyi and Expedition 19 crew members Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Michael Barratt. They were greeted at approximately 12:30 p.m. (EDT) by the Expedition 18 crew..."

Comment Three Must Reads (Score 1) 630

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid has already been mentioned, but bears repeating. Godel's Proof by Nagel and Newman makes a good companion to it. Finally, How to Solve It by G. Polya will help make up for the deficiencies in modern mathematics textbooks. I know I wish my mathematics instructor in high school had given me Polya.


Debian For Android Installer Released 160

dooberrymctavish writes "You can now download an installer and bootloader for getting Debian running on your Android (G1 at the moment) device; the whole install process will take you about 10 minutes, and leaves you with access to the full plethora of programs available in Debian and lets you continue using your phone as it was intended to be: as an Android device with all the capabilities thereof. Here's a look at it running.
The Courts

Breathalyzer Source Code Ruling Upheld 520

dfn_deux writes "In a follow up to a 2005 story where Florida judge Doug Henderson ruled that breathalyzer evidence in more than 100 drunk driving cases would be inadmissible as evidence at trial, the Second District Court of Appeal and Circuit Court has ruled on Tuesday to uphold the 2005 ruling requiring the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 5000, Kentucky-based CMI Inc, to release source code for their breathalyzer equipment to be examined by witnesses for the defense of those standing trial with breathalyzer test result being used as evidence against them. '"The defendant's right to a fair trial outweighed the manufacturer's claim of a trade secret," Henderson said Tuesday. In response to the ruling defense attorney, Mark Lipinski, who represents seven defendants challenging the source codes, said the state likely will be forced to reduce charges — or drop the cases entirely.' ... What this really means is that outside corporations cannot sell equipment to the state of Florida and expect to hide the workings of their machine by saying they are trade secret. It means the state has to give full disclosure concerning important and critical aspects of the case."

Wiretapping Program Ruled Legal 575

BuhDuh writes "The New York Times is carrying a story concerning that well known bastion of legal authority, the 'Foreign Intelligence Surveillance' court, which has ruled that the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program was perfectly legal. It says, 'A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americans' private communications may be involved, according to a person with knowledge of the opinion.'"

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