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Censorship

The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet 419

Psychophrenes writes "A new episode in French internet legislation — French ministers have passed a bill (original in French) allowing the government to add any website to a black list, which access providers will have to enforce. This black list will be defined by the government only, without requiring the intervention of the legal system. Although originally intended against pedo-pornographic websites, this bill is already outdated, as was Hadopi in its time, and instead paves the way for a global censorship of the 'French internet.'"
Idle

The Year In Robot News 38

itwbennett writes "Who loves robots? You may love them more or less after seeing what 2010 gave us, robot-wise. It's not the rise of the machines yet, but that teddy bear creeped us out."
Idle

Linux Radio 141

An anonymous reader writes "This might very well be the nerdiest site we'll ever encounter... Linux Radio is an online radio station broadcasting the Linux kernel! Each time someone visit the site, a random source file is selected and read loudly by a virtual speaker materialized through the open source speech synthesizer eSpeak. Will it prove useful to anyone is probably a difficult question to answer, but the excitement provided is worth experiencing at least once. However, this concept proves once more the advantages of open source over proprietary software making such achievements impossible : whoever in his right mind would want to listen to binary files loudly?"
The Almighty Buck

When DLC Goes Wrong 261

kube00 writes "Poorly done downloadable content is one of a gamer's worst nightmares right now. Where a publisher stands to make some money, gamers get screwed. Whether it's the overpriced extra maps/costumes DLC, on-the-disc-at-launch DLC, or DLC that is nothing more than a remake of other content, no game is safe from bad DLC. That includes Modern Warfare 2, Bioshock 2, Uncharted 2 and a host of many other popular games. Is there a chance to fix this system?"
Facebook

Cook's Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain 565

Isarian writes with a story, as reported on Gawker and many other places, that "Cooks Source Magazine is being raked over the coals today as word spreads about its theft of a recipe from Monica Gaudio, a recipe author who discovered her recipe has been published without her knowledge. When confronting the publisher of the offending magazine, she was told, 'But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it!' In addition to the story passing around online, Cooks Source Magazine's Facebook page is being overwhelmed with posts by users glad to explain copyright law to the wayward publisher."
Graphics

Soviet Image Editing Tool From 1987 146

nacturation writes "Three years before Photoshop 1.0 was released, computer engineers in the USSR were already retouching photographs using some surprisingly advanced technology. A video shows how the Soviets went about restoring damaged images with the help of rotary scanners, magnetic tape, and trackballs. No word on whether this technology was used to fake moon landings or put missiles in Cuba." Photo manipulation in the USSR (and elsewhere) had a pretty good jump on computers, though.
Advertising

Google Chrome Now Has Resource-Blocking Adblock 335

MackieChan writes "It seems to have slipped under the radar, but Google Chrome now has resource-blocking abilities, and may have had the ability for some time. Using the 'beforeload' event on the document, an extension can now intercept resources from loading. Adblock for Chrome has already added it, and I expect the other 'ad-blocking' extensions have as well. Before you start praising Google, however, it's the WebKit team that deserves your credit; one Chromium developer responded to praise by stating '... thank Apple — they added it to WebKit, we just inherited it.' Firefox vs. Chrome just got a bit more exciting."
Power

Harry Reid Pushes Nevada As "Saudi Arabia of Geothermal Energy" 369

An anonymous reader writes "Of all the 'mainstream' forms of renewable energy, it seems that geothermal power is always left in the shadows compared to solar and wind power. However, that looks set to change with news that the US Department of Energy will fund geothermal projects in northwestern Nevada and southeast Oregon. With funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the DOE has stated a 'conditional commitment' to provide a partial guarantee for a rumored $98.5 million loan to the Nevada Geothermal Power Company (NGP). According to US Senator Harry Reid, 'Northern Nevada is the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy.'"
Math

First Self-Replicating Creature Spawned In Conway's Game of Life 241

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist has a story on a self-replicating entity which inhabits the mathematical universe known as the Game of Life. 'Dubbed Gemini, [Andrew Wade's] creature is made of two sets of identical structures, which sit at either end of the instruction tape. Each is a fraction of the size of the tape's length but, made up of two constructor arms and one "destructor," play a key role. Gemini's initial state contains three of these structures, plus a fourth that is incomplete. As the simulation progresses the incomplete structure begins to grow, while the structure at the start of the tape is demolished. The original Gemini continues to disassemble as the new one emerges, until after nearly 34 million generations, new life is born.'"
Communications

New York Times Bans Use of Word "Tweet" 426

An anonymous reader writes "New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett has had enough of his journalists' sloppy writing. Their offense? Using the 'inherently silly' word 'tweet' 18 times in the last month. In an internal memo obtained by theawl.com, he orders his writers to use alternatives, such as '"use Twitter" ... or "a Twitter update."' He admits that ' ... new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don't want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words ...' After all, he points out, ' ... another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and "tweet" may fade into oblivion.' Of course, it is also possible that social media sites will elbow paleolithic media into oblivion, and Mr. Corbett will no longer have to worry about word use." While this sounds like it could as well be an Onion story, the memo is being widely reported.
Communications

Skype App Updated, Allows 3G Calling On the iPhone 109

silverpig sends this excerpt from the Wifitalk.ca blog: "Skype has just announced that an updated version of its iPhone app has been released to the App Store and now allows calling over 3G. While this functionality has been available on the iPhone since a January update to the SDK, and while other apps such as Fring have enabled 3G VOIP calling through their apps, Skype has been noticeably absent from the VOIP-over-3G landscape. Until today." A reader adds: "Included in the app update are some UI tweaks and a call quality indicator to help you predict what your VOIP-over-3G call quality will be like. Most interesting in the announcement is the suggestion that while Skype-to-Skype over 3G will be free for 2010, Skype is investigating pricing options and may charge for it in 2011. This could lead to smartphones being sold with data only + Skype plans."
Patents

Nero Files Antitrust Complaint Against MPEG-LA 247

hkmwbz writes "German technology company Nero AG has filed an antitrust complaint against the MPEG-LA, the company that manages the H.264 patent pool. Nero claims that the MPEG-LA has violated the law and achieved and abused 100% market share, by, among other things, using 'independent experts' that weren't independent after all, not weeding out non-essential patents from the pool (in fact, it has grown from the original 53 to more than 1,000), and retroactively changing previously-agreed-on license terms."
Media

Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source 312

SergeyKurdakov writes "Monty 'xiphmont' Montgomery of the Xiph Foundation says the latest action-packed, graph- and demo-clip-stuffed Theora project update page (demo 9) is now up for all and sundry! Catch up on what's gone into the new Theora encoder Ptalarbvorm over the last few months. It also instructs how to pronounce 'Ptalarbvorm.' Ptalarbvorm is not a finished release encoder yet, though I've personally been using it in production for a few months. Pace on improvements hasn't slowed down — the subjective psychovisual work being done by Tim Terriberry and Greg Maxwell has at least doubled-again on the improvements made by Thusnelda, and they're not anywhere near done yet. As a bonus Monty gathered all Xiph demo pages in one place." Also on the video codec front, and also with a Xiph connection, atamido writes "Google has released On2's VP8 video codec to the world, royalty-free. It is packaging it with Vorbis audio, in a subset of the Matroska container, and calling it WebM. It's not branded as an exclusively Google project — Mozilla and Opera are also contributors. Builds of your favorite browsers with full support are available." An anonymous reader points out this technical analysis of VP8.
United States

State Senator Caught Looking At Porn On Senate Floor 574

Everyone knows how boring a debate on a controversial abortion bill can get on the Senate floor. So it's no wonder that Florida State Sen. Mike Bennett took the time to look at a little porn and a video of a dog running out of the water and shaking itself off. From the article: "Ironically, as Bennett is viewing the material, you can hear a Senator Dan Gelber's voice in the background debating a controversial abortion bill. 'I'm against this bill,' said Gelber, 'because it disrespects too many women in the state of Florida.' Bennett defended his actions, telling Sunshine State News it was an email sent to him by a woman 'who happens to be a former court administrator.'"

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