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Submission + - US wants to track vehicles for a "mileage tax&

zarathud writes: The News&Observer reports that the U.S government and 15 states have commissioned a trial of a satellite-based vehicle tracking system. The intent of the system is to monitor highway use in order to tax it. Participants will have "GPS computers" mounted in their cars and receive mock state and federal tax bills for their mileage. The justification for the proposed tax is that alternative energy cars sidestep the gas taxes that help fund roads. This system appears to be quite different from the tracking system Slashdot covered last month. This idea has been considered by Oregon and California before. Economist Mike Moffatt has a few criticisms.

Mass Effect DRM Still Causing Issues 593

An anonymous reader writes "There was some discussion last month about the proposed DRM for Mass Effect and Spore that required the game to phone home every ten days. They backed down from that, but have left in that a user is only allowed 3 activations per license key. A license key is burned up when the O/S is reinstalled, when certain hardware is upgraded (EA refuses to disclose specifics of what), and possibly when a new user is set up in Windows. Only in its first month, some users are already locked out of their games from trying troubleshooting techniques to get the game running."

Anti-P2P College Bill Moving Through House 334

An anonymous reader writes "A news.com article is covering an amendment to the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (pdf) that should make folks in Hollywood, the RIAA, and the MPAA well pleased. The tiny section seeks to hinge government approval of an institution of higher learning on whether or not they adequately dissuade Peer-to-Peer filesharing of copyrighted materials. The Act came out of the House Education and Labor Committee, which agreed on the terms unanimously. There is still some question, though, as to what penalties should be handed down for institutions that don't do enough to protect intellectual property. 'Some university representatives and fair-use advocates worry that schools run the risk of losing aid for their students if they fail to come up with the required plans. "The language in the bill appears to be clear that failure to carry out the mandates would make an institution ineligible for participation in at least some part of Title IV (which deals with federal financial aid programs)," Steven Worona, director of policy and networking programs for the group Educause, said in a telephone interview Thursday.'" Update: 11/16 16:36 GMT by Z : PDF link corrected.

Stem Cell Targeting Wins First Nobel of 2007 48

An anonymous reader writes "'Gene targeting,' which allows scientists to isolate stem cells in mice and reproduce genetically modified offspring, has won the Nobel Prize for medicine. Having allowed pathologists to better understand diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and cystic fibrosis for close to 20 years, the technology is just now getting its big day in the sun. From Nobel's full how-it-works: 'Their [i.e. ES cells] use as a vehicle for the transfer into the mouse genome of mutant alleles, either selected in cell culture or inserted into the cells via transformation with specific DNA fragments, has been presented as an attractive proposition. In many of these studies the use of pluripotential cells directly isolated from the embryos under study should have great advantages.'"

Australia to Offer Widespread ISP-level Filtering 208

Phurge writes "According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, the Australia government has decided to take the controversial step of having internet service providers filter web content at the request of parents, in a crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators. 'The more efficient compulsory filtering of internet service providers (ISPs) was proposed in March last year by the then Labor leader, Kim Beazley. At the time, the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, and ISPs criticised his idea as expensive. Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped. Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. Parents will be able to request the ISP filter option when they sign up with an ISP. It will be compulsory to provide it. The measures will come into effect by the end of this month.'"

Submission + - Mixed Reality, Physics and WoW (aps.org)

hkfczrqj writes: Researchers at the University of Illinois are studying systems in which virtual and real physical systems interact (first story). Using a real and a simulated pendulum to create a "mixed reality" system, the authors hope to understand the conditions under which emergent, more complex phenomena such as the interaction between real and virtual economies in MMORPGs arise.

Submission + - Princeton physicists connect string theory

tinkertim writes: "Physorg is reporting that Princeton physicists have connected the string theory with established physics. From the article:

String theory, simultaneously one of the most promising and controversial ideas in modern physics, may be more capable of helping probe the inner workings of subatomic particles than was previously thought, according to a team of Princeton University scientists.

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