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Communications

Submission + - Site to Resurrect Dead Forum Comments (wired.com)

Billosaur writes: "May the airing of grievances commence! Via Wired, we find out that Billy Chasen, responsible for the exploded iPod display is starting a new website called "Don't Censor Me", dedicated to horror stories about online moderators and their negative treatment of comments/posts. It is described as a site to counterbalance unfair website moderation. Apparently Digg is such a large offender that it has its own tab."
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA ordered to divulge expenses-per-download

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The Court has ordered UMG Recordings, Warner Bros. Records, Interscope Records, Motown, and SONY BMG to disclose their expenses-per-download to the defendant's lawyers, in UMG v. Lindor, a case pending in Brooklyn. The Court held that the expense figures are relevant to the issue of whether the RIAA's attempt to recover damages of $750 or more per 99-cent song file, is an unconstitutional violation of due process."
Transportation

Submission + - America Takes Another Look at Maglev Trains (popularmechanics.com)

longacre writes: "With highways and airports steadily grinding to a crawl and fuel prices skyrocketing, city planners are taking a new look at high-speed rail solutions such as maglev to alleviate the nation's transportation bottlenecks. At costs of up to $100 million per track mile, the 300 mph, virtually silent, frictionless trains are a hard sell. In places like Los Angeles, however, where the next 30 years will add 6 million people to the population of an area whose transportation infrastructure is already overwhelmed, new capacity is desperately needed. Includes video of a General Atomics maglev prototype in action."
The Internet

Submission + - Flawed Online Dating Bill Being Pushed in NJ (arstechnica.com)

Billosaur writes: "According to a report on ars technica, a committee of the New Jersey Assembly is trying to push an on-line dating bill even though it contains significant flaws. The Internet Dating Safety Act would require dating web sites that interact with customers in New Jersey to indicate whether they do criminal background checks and if people who fail such checks are still allowed to register with the site. In addition, the warnings would be displayed in all emails and all sign-up web pages where the site interacts with a New Jersey customer, in a bold, 12-point font. For sites the do background checks, they would be required to inform NJ users of that fact, in the same type of font. And for sites that might allow convicted criminals to sign up, there would be a strict admonition that background checks are not infallible and that the data they use might be incomplete. While perhaps there is merit in the attempt to make online dating safer, you have to wonder what the NJ Assembly actually hopes to accomplish."
The Courts

Submission + - Vonage Lose Appeal; Verizon Owed $120 Million (bloomberg.com)

Billosaur writes: "Things do not look good for Vonage. Yesterday, they lost their request for reconsideration of their settlement with Verizon. This means Vonage owes Verizon $120 million to end the patent lawsuit filed against them. The costs associated with defending the case have cut into Vonage's bottom line, and despite attempts to cut costs by laying off 10% of their workforce, they may be unable to make a payment against their debt come December. According to the settlement, Vonage will pay $117.5 million to Verizon and another $2.5 million dollars to charity. Vonage's shares have dropped 87% since their IPO, now hovering around $1.50 per share."
Privacy

Submission + - Facebook App Exposes User Information (valleywag.com)

Billosaur writes: "According to a report on Valleywag.com, the Facebook application Compare People contains a vulnerability that allows user information to be seen by search engines. What type of information? Age, gender, city, ZIP code, favorite music, favorite movies, favorite TV shows, favorite books, "about me," activities, interests, and political views are all searchable. Further, the company that built the app, Chainn, has no information available on their web site, save an email address."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 5 Not-So-Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (cracked.com)

Billosaur writes: "Science fiction often makes the future seem like a wonderful place, with all sorts of cool gadgets and technologies that we can only dream of. However, the folks at Cracked.com took a hard look at what your average sci-fi enthusiast would consider some of the best inventions the genre has to offer and determined the 5 that would actually suck. They are:
  1. Matter Replicators
  2. Teleporters
  3. Holodecks
  4. Jet Packs
  5. Flying Cars


It's not so much the technologies themselves, but the reasons why they would suck that are at once funny and very cogent."

Encryption

Submission + - NIST Opens Competition for a New Hash Algorithm (nist.gov)

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes: "The National Institute of Standards and Technology has opened a public competition for the development of a new cryptographic hash algorithm, which will be called Secure Hash Algorithm-3 (SHA-3), and will augment the current algorithms specified in the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 180-2. This is in response to serious attacks reported in recent years against cryptographic hash algorithms, including SHA-1, and because SHA-1 and the SHA-2 family share a similar design. Submissions are being accepted through October 2008, and the competition timeline indicates that a winner will be announced in 2012."
The Internet

Submission + - Babelfish sparks international diplomatic row

Stony Stevenson writes: An email sent to the Dutch foreign ministry by a group of Israeli journalists has sparked a diplomatic row, thanks to an unreliable translation by Babelfish. The journalists wrote a set of questions before a planned fact-finding trip to The Netherlands, running them through the online translation tool to turn them into Dutch. The beginning of the email read: 'Helloh bud, enclosed five of the questions in honor of the foreign minister: The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian.'
Education

Submission + - Transition from Academia to Industry 2

Pseudonymous writes: I am an assistant professor in a computer science department wanting to go into industry (not out of choice but necessity). Over the past pretenure years, I have worked on pretty theoretical problems, involving algorithms and complexity so I think I am unprepared or unskilled to join the software industry. I have of course taught the basic courses in C and Java (which unfortunately does not mean that I know enough to jump into a huge software project). So how do I go from a theoretician to someone that industry might value ? What skills should I aim to develop before I put myself out there ?
Data Storage

Submission + - Hard drive prices drop from PC, flash drive demand (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: "The average price of notebook hard drives tumbled to $53 in the third quarter of 2007, from $86 in the same period during the previous year, according to a survey by a market research firm. The price drop can be accredited to competition among six vendors, enormous demand for PCs and consumer electronics as well as evolving flash memory drives. "Lower-capacity notebook drives showed smaller price drops, while newer high-capacity drives saw massive price drops.""
The Internet

Submission + - MLB Fans Who Bought DRM Videos Get Hosed

Billosaur writes: "Found via BoingBoing, Major League Baseball has just strengthened the case against DRM. If you downloaded videos of baseball games from MLB.com before 2006, apparently they no longer work and you are out of luck. MLB.com, sometime during 2006, changed their DRM system. Result: game videos purchased before that time will now no longer work, as the previous DRM system is no longer supported. When the video is played, apparently the MLB.com servers are contacted and a license obtained to verify the authenticity of the video; this is done by a web link. That link no longer exists, and so now the videos will no longer play, even though the MLB FAQ says that a license is only obtained once and will not need to be re-obtained. The blogger who is reporting this contacted MLB technical support, only to be told there are no refunds due to this problem."
Biotech

Submission + - Did Volcanoes Cause Mass Extinctions?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Huge amounts of sulphur dioxide released by volcanic eruptions from the Deccan Flood Basalts in India during a million year period before mass extinctions 65 million years ago may have had more to do with wiping out dinosaurs than the meteorite strike at Chicxulub on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Marine sediments drilled from the Chicxulub crater have revealed that that the mass extinctions occurred 300,000 years after Chicxulub hit Earth. The Deccan volcanism was a long cumulative process that released vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. "On land it must have been 7-8 degrees warmer," says Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller. "The Chicxulub impact alone could not have caused the mass extinction, because this impact predates the mass extinction." Keller also postulates a second larger and still unidentified meteor strike after Chicxulub, that left the famous extraterrestrial layer of iridium found in rocks worldwide and pushed earth's ecosystem over the brink. But where's the crater? "I wish I knew," says Keller."
Space

Submission + - European physicists take photo of neutrino

An anonymous reader writes: European physicists said Tuesday they had sent an elusive particle known as a neutrino on a 730-kilometer (456-mile) trip under the Earth's crust and taken a snapshot of the instant it slammed into lab detectors. In the October 2 event, a neutrino hit one of the 60,000 bricks that had been installed in San Grasso, leaving a tell-tale track of a muon on the film. The experiment is important, say the investigators, as it could help explain one of the biggest mysteries about the Universe — its missing mass. When scientists tot up the mass of all the visible matter in the Universe, they arrive at a total of just 10 percent of what they know to exist. For years, neutrinos were not thought to have any mass, although that theory has been challenged by experiments at Japan's SuperKamioKande lab, which suggested that they may have a mass, albeit a very tiny one.

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