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Businesses

Visual Effects Artists Use MPAA's Own Words Against It 131

beltsbear sends a story about the struggles of visual effects artists against the Motion Picture Association of America. The VFX industry in the U.S. has been slowly dying because movie studios increasingly outsource the work to save money. The visual effects industry protested and fought where they could, but had little success — until the MPAA filed a seemingly innocuous legal document to the International Trade Commission two weeks ago. In it, the MPAA argues that international trade of intellectual property is just like international trade of manufactured goods, and should be afforded the same protections. This would naturally apply to visual effects work, as well. Thus: "[E]mboldened by the MPAA’s filing, the visual effects workers are now in a position to use the big studios’ own arguments to compel the government to slap trade tariffs on those studios’ own productions in high-subsidy countries. Those arguments will be especially powerful because the MPAA made them to the very same governmental agencies that will process the visual-effects workers’ case. Additionally, the workers can now take matters into their own hands. ... If visual effects workers can show the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission that an import is benefiting from foreign subsidies and therefore illegally undercutting a domestic industry, the federal government is obligated to automatically slap a punitive tax on that import. Such a tax would in practice erase the extra profit margins the studios are gleaning from the foreign subsidies, thereby leveling the competitive playing field for American workers and eliminating the purely economic incentive for the studios to engage in mass offshoring."
Medicine

Egg-free Flu Vaccines Provide Faster Pandemic Response 64

eggboard writes "Jen A. Miller has an egg allergy of a variety that her doctor has told her could produce a severe reaction if she were vaccinated for the flu, as flu vaccines are grown from viral strains incubated in chicken eggs. But, she explains, two new approaches have been approved by the FDA and are in production that don't use eggs at all; they're on the market in small amounts already, but will be available in much larger quantities soon. It's not just about egg allergies: the new vaccine types (one relying in insect proteins and the other on animal proteins) provide a much faster turnaround time in response to flu pandemics — as little as two to three months from isolation of a strain to mass production instead of at least six months with eggs."

Comment Re:I'm not covinced by Dyson (Score 1) 125

And don't someone come up with the BS about everyone will sit around in blissful nirvana writing poetry or music or coding or go kayaking all day.

No, of course not. They will sit around and watch TV.

How many people have the ability and the inclination to write poetry or music or code anyhow?

Submission + - New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The latest news in this: GCSB appears to have deleted key evidence in the case in a hamfisted attempt to cover up its illegal activities. Even more ridiculous, GCSB is trying to cover this up by claiming that the material had "aged off" — implying that it was deleted automatically. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key claims that they had to delete the information under the law.

Of course, there are a few problems with that. The first is that under New Zealand law, like most countries these days, parties have an obligation to preserve documents likely to be necessary in a legal case. But, even more damning is that there's video of John Key in the New Zealand Parliament trying to defend against an earlier claim that GCSB had deleted some evidence by insisting that GCSB does not delete anything ever:

Submission + - Exam Cheating Scandal Hits Navy Nuclear Force (go.com)

mdsolar writes: "In a new twist to a widening tale of ethical lapses in the military, the Navy is investigating cheating allegations against about one-fifth of its trainers at a school for naval nuclear power reactor operators.

It is the second exam-cheating scandal to hit the military this year, on top of a series of disclosures in recent months of ethical lapses at all ranks in the military as it transitions from more than a decade of war-fighting.

Unlike an Air Force cheating probe that has implicated nearly 100 officers responsible for land-based nuclear missiles that stand ready for short-notice launch, those implicated in the Navy investigation have no responsibility for nuclear weapons."

The trouble with eternal vigilance is that sometimes you blink and eventually you'll blink at just the wrong time....

Submission + - New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists (medium.com)

KentuckyFC writes: Black holes form when a large star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight. Since there is no known force that can stop this collapse, astrophysicists have always assumed that it forms a singularity, a region of space that is infinitely dense. Now cosmologists think quantum gravity might prevent this complete collapse after all. They say that the same force that stops an electron spiralling into a nucleus might also cause the collapsing star to "bounce" at scales of around 10^-14cm. They're calling this new state a "Planck star" and say it's lifetime would match that of the black hole itself as it evaporates. That raises the possibility that the shrinking event horizon would eventually meet the expanding Planck star, which emerges with a sudden blast of gamma rays. That radiation would allow any information trapped in the black hole to escape, solving the infamous information paradox. If they're right, these gamma rays may already have been detected by space-based telescopes meaning that the evidence is already there for any enterprising astronomer to tease apart.

Submission + - Curiosity Has Breached 'Dingo Gap' Mars Dune's Crest (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: On Tuesday at precisely 12:55 p.m. EST (17:55 UTC), Mars rover Curiosity successfully breached the crest of the dune in “Dingo Gap.” The 1 meter-high dune stands between the rover and a smoother route to the mission’s next science target. The timestamps on the raw imagery suggests the short drive up the sandy slope took around 25 minutes, where it appears to have paused at the dune's apex.

Submission + - Utah cable companies want to prevent broadband growth by law also (arstechnica.com)

symbolset writes: On the heels of the smackdown received by cable lobbyists in Kansas, Ars reports out of Utah that the cable companies aren't giving up hopes of preventing competition through legislation. The bill called Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition would prevent a regional fiber consortium from building infrastructure outside the boundaries of its member cities and towns — a direct attack on Google's work in Provo and the UTOPIA network. Utah is the third state to be involved in the Google Fiber rollout of gigabit fiber to the home.
Security

FileZilla Has an Evil Twin That Steals FTP Logins 197

Nerval's Lobster writes "On the same day the world discovered Western intelligence agencies were siphoning user information from Angry Birds and other popular smartphone apps, a leading antivirus developer revealed hackers are doing the same thing with one of the most popular open-source applications on the Internet. Maliciously modified versions of the popular FTP application FileZilla look and act just like the real thing, but include extra code that steals the login data typed in by users and sends it to an unauthorized server using the same FTP operation launched by the user without going through a firewall that might spot what it's doing, according to an alert posted this afternoon by antivirus developer Avast Software. The malicious version is fully functional, uses the same graphical interface and component file names as the original, and masks itself further by avoiding any suspicious entries in the system registry, overt attempts to communicate with outside servers or other changes, according to the Jan. 27 alert from Avast. The most obvious differences are that the poisoned version of filezilla.exe is 6.8MB smaller than the real thing and there are two DLL libraries included in the fake that are not present in the original. They are labeled ibgcc_s_dw2-1.dll and libstdc++-6.dll, according to Avast. The official version's Nullsoft installer is v2.45-Unicode; the evil twin uses v2.46.3-Unicode. Automatic updates also fail on the poisoned version 'which is most likely a protection to prevent overwriting of the malware binaries,' Avast added."

Comment Voice needs context (Score 1) 113

Voice interface is one of the hardest things to implement well in AI because there are so many sentences that sound similar, understanding depends so much on context.

Without understanding the context of the conversation, a voice interface will not be able to know if you are talking about sodas or sawdust, robots or row boats, new displays or nudist plays.

Comment Bye bye, aircraft carriers (Score 1) 197

work on space exploration, fusion power, renewable food production,

You know what's even worse than working on developing weapon systems? Working on 90 years old weapon systems.

Aircraft carriers were state of the art during WWII, today they are as obsolete as the USS Arizona was in 1941.

What's the point is spending hundreds of billions of dollars in building sitting ducks that can be taken out by a single hypersonic missile?

Comment Re:Here We Go Again (Score 1) 674

your own personal information that is being bundled up and sold off.

I repeat, there is no need to "monetize" everything.

Does that personal information have any monetary value to you? Can you sell it? Does someone using it take anything away from you? If not, then you are losing nothing while you get to use the services of a site without having to pay for it.

All that information does is to enable someone to send you advertisements that might interest you. If it doesn't interest you, too bad, but it's no worse than all the junk mail you have been receiving for so many years.

Anyhow, if you do not like the way it is, no one is forcing you to use any of those sites. It's not like the government taking taxes away from your pockets.

Comment Re:Here We Go Again (Score 2) 674

How did this half-wit get published by the NY times?

Hint: they also publish the bullshit that Paul Krugman writes.

It's easy to say that internet companies only employs X people, while forgetting that they do not charge users for whatever they provide.

I, for one, think the greatest economic advantage is when we are able to get things for free. There's no need to "monetize" everything.

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