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Comment Re:Doesn't really matter what *WE* think, does it? (Score 2, Interesting) 412

No billboards here in Vermont either.

As well, all business signs must be less than 1-story tall. No gas station signs or golden arches on giant towers here.

To make up for the lack of billboards all businesses can get standardized road-sign-sized directional markers just before their turn off the main road. These have the same font as road signs, an arrow, and an optional miniature business logo. I personally find these directional markers very useful for finding and discovering businesses. Its wonderful to have timely and consistent directional information without being constantly bludgeoned with it.


Submission + - Blackboard awarded $3million patent judgement (

Adam Franco writes: "Today Blackboard's patent suit against Desire2Learn has been concluded in Blackboard's favor.

From John Baker, President and CEO of Desire2Learn:

I am writing to update you on the current status of the Blackboard v. Desire2Learn Patent Infringement lawsuit. Earlier today the jury handed down its verdict that the patent is valid and that Blackboard should be awarded damages of approximately $3 million.

As you know, Blackboard filed a patent infringement suit against Desire2Learn on July 26, 2006. Blackboard claimed that Desire2Learn was infringing all 44 claims of patent number 6,988,138. Last summer, the Court eliminated the first 35 claims of the suit.

Comment Re:Yet another wrong answer... (Score 1) 419

have ISPs cut off high bandwidth connections from those suspected of spamming? can anyone say privacy nightmare?

Yes, absolutely have ISPs cut those off who are suspected of spamming however you don't have to invade privacy to see that something is amiss - if I'm an ISP, I don't need to read an email on the wire to know that a computer that's leased an address from my residential customer pool is spewing outbound port 25 traffic and that what they're saying probably says "V1@g ra"; a mail server and a client look very different in terms of network behavior. If I'm sending out a ton of spam, I look like a mail server. How many computers on residential customer networks of ISPs send out hundreds of messages per minute/hour/day? How many legitimately have a reason for doing so?

This is very, very easy to monitor, from a network behavior standpoint. Your ISP certainly knows how to blackhole DNS/redirect traffic (or switch your cable modem into a private network) to one of their own web servers ("Your account needs to be set up - please contact Comcast", etc.), so it's a trivial task to block suspected spammers and redirect them to a site informing them of how to remediate the issue and regain network access.

There are a few areas in which ISPs need to step up. spam is one - an annoying one. A bigger one is the issue of spoofing. If even 20% of the routers on the Internet prevented spoofing (packets emanating from their networks with IP address other than that of their network or networks behind them), we'd be much better off (think BotNets). This one is sheer laziness/lack of knowledge on the part of network engineers at ISPs - they make the pipes go, so they're doing their job.

And if that's the overall philosophy of the ISPs, it's very easy to see some of the reasons why we're currently reading emails from Bernardo Gentry that say "allegro methylene topgallant resemblant denmark manservant snowball urethra." I kid you not: "manservant snowball urethra". Please, ISPs... you fail.

Submission + - Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for gadgets

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia has developed a diamond-like coating material made from coal. The coating is very tough, but also smooth to the touch. It's also conductive and therefore antistatic, so it does not attract dirt easily.

To make the material electric current is fed through coal graphite. This creates plasma, which is directed towards a plastic casing by high-voltage electrodes. The coal ions penetrate the surface and bond to form an amorphous, diamond-like coating less than 100 nanometres thick. The process works at room temperature, meaning even cheap plastics can be coated this way. Here's the patent application.

Submission + - Zone-H Defaced By Saudi Hackers

Pro-SEO writes: "In a story which could be described as delicious irony, the repository of defaced websites, Zone-H, Has been defaced by a group of Saudi hackers.

zone-h is a website which collects and collates information on what sites have been defaced, who defaced them and their motives. So it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise that they were on someones hit list themselves. The hackers, Devil Hacker & Unix Web, Struck at sometime on the 27/1/07 (uk) and replaced the zone-h homepage with a classic defacement suggesting zone-h "see more security next time"."

Submission + - Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware?

Lank writes: According to an article on CNN Money, Parallels and VMware can not only run Windows on Macs, but also allow OS X on non-Apple computers! Serguei Beloussov, the CEO of SWsoft, parent company to Parallels, insists that this ability is not deliberate but rather a byproduct Intel's built-in virtualization technology. "I wonder what Steve Jobs is going to do, because there is so much pressure to run Mac OS on non-Macs. There's no technical reason not to do it. He's so proprietary about everything, yet it could be a very strategic move for him to make," CEO of VMware Diane Greene said. But I feel the decision still belongs to Jobs.

Submission + - Google Auto-Suggests Social Security Number

Dotnaught writes: "In a story about Google's recent security lapse with its anti-phishing blacklist, InformationWeek reports some odd behavior from the Google Toolbar. "Entering two keywords related to Social Security numbers — call them 'x' and 'y' so as not to compound the problem — into the Google Toolbar will produce a keyword search suggestion in the form 'x y John Doe.' Selecting the suggested search terms and name, as might be expected, generates a search results page with the named person's Social Security number. A spokesperson for Google said the company's engineers didn't have an immediate explanation for the auto-generated suggestion, that it was probably an aberration and that the suggestion would likely be removed.""

Submission + - Pretexting Now Illegal

Investigative Lead writes: "Pretexting, better known as lying, is now illegal thanks to a law signed by President Bush last week. While the new law doesn't address many of the other times private investigators may lie in order to gather private information, it at least stops them from gathering telephone records under false pretenses. The bill itself was introduced late last year, but only finally got the necessary support after the HP spying scandal broke, where they used PIs on their own board members in order to identify press leaks. Anyone trying some of those techniques now could end up with a maximum of 10 years in prison."

Submission + - Comet McNaught Visible in Broad Daylight

AbsoluteXyro writes: As the amateur astronomers among us already know, Comet McNaught has been gracing the early morning and late evening skies... as it approaches the Sun, some estimate it has the potential to become 40 times brighter than Venus, or a magnitude of -8.8! In fact, it has recently been reported at that Comet McNaught is now visible in broad daylight! From the article: "It's fantastic," reports Wayne Winch of Bishop, California. "I put the sun behind a neighbor's house to block the glare and the comet popped right into view. You can even see the tail."

Submission + - In Soviet Russia, Underwear Cleans You

mikeinvt writes: Finally, the fabric technology we've all been waiting for. Sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, a group has fabricated t-shirts and underwear that don't need to be washed for weeks on end. Quoting the article, which quotes Jeff Owens, one of the scientists who made the fabric:
"During Desert Storm, most casualties were from bacterial infections — not accidents or friendly fire. We treated underwear for soldiers who tested them for several weeks and found they remained hygienic. They also helped clear up some skin complaints."

Nanoparticles are bonded to the fabric that repel water, oils and bacteria. Suddenly, the laundry services at Google are less appealing.

Pirate Radio Stations Challenge Feds 348

Thundgelmir writes "Yahoo news has an article about how pirate radio is taking on the FCC. It describes the growing trend of low-power FM stations, and their crusade to be heard across the country and around the internet." From the article: "Over four days, a dozen men and women shyly bumped shoulders as they studied schematics and tinkered with romex connectors, resistors, microphone cords, meters, sockets and capacitors — the stuff of illegal radio stations. 'We're not stealing anything. We're claiming something that's rightfully ours,' he says. His goal is to create FM radio stations faster than the FCC can shut them down ... 'It's always been our position that if enough people go on the air with their stations, the FCC will be overwhelmed and unable to respond.'"

Maryland Governor Wants Paper Ballots 433

supabeast! writes, "Fed up with all the problems in the state's electronic voting system, Maryland Governor Robert Erlich wants the state to scrap the entire system and return to paper ballots. He's threatened to call a special session of the legislature to change the law to allow paper ballots. What makes this particularly interesting is that Erlich is a Republican — the party often maligned for exploiting flaws in electronic systems — and his attempts to clean up Maryland's voting problems are being opposed by Democrats, the party that is usually complaining about electronic voting!"

Comment Re:Global Warming Is Not Bad (Score 1) 698

We just came out of an ice age recently by geologic standards. On the scale of human civilization, which is what most of us are concerned about here, that happened a long time ago. And the last ~10ka, in which most of what we now think of as civilization has been created, has been climatically stable to an unprecedented degree.

Of all the arguments often made against the importance of climate change, the one that makes the least sense to me is the one you just made.

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