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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 66 declined, 20 accepted (86 total, 23.26% accepted)

Submission + - Chinese Communist elders issue free speech appeal

mcgrew writes: The AP (via Yahoo) are reporting that a group of Chinese "Communist Party elders" are calling for an end to restrictions of free speech.

"This kind of false democracy of affirming in principle and denying in actuality is a scandal in the history of democracy," said the letter, which was dated Monday and widely distributed by e-mail. Wang Yongcheng, a retired professor at Shanghai's Jiaotong University who signed the letter, said it had been inspired by the recent arrest of a journalist who wrote about corruption in the resettlement of farmers for a dam project. "We want to spur action toward governing the country according to law," Wang said in a telephone interview.

Medicine

Submission + - The longer you sit, the earlier you die

mcgrew writes: Bad news or most of us here — The Chicago Tribune is reporting that even if you get plenty of exersize, sitting down all day reduces your lifespan. From the article:

Even after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and smoking, the researchers found that women who sit more than 6 hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die than those who sit less than 3 hours; for men, long-sitters were 17 percent more likely to die.

People who exercise regularly had a lower risk, but still significant, risk of dying. Those who sat a lot and moved less than three and a half hours per day are the most likely to die early: researchers found a 94 percent increased risk for women and 48 percent increase for men, they announced recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Bug

Submission + - MS .lnk patch coming soon?

mcgrew writes: Computerworld is reporting that HD Moore, the chief security officer of Rapid7 and the creator of the well-known Metasploit hacking toolkit says "My guess is they will address this out-of-band and within two weeks, based on the exploits in the wild and the press coverage of the Siemens' software hack". However, they quote Kapersky's Roel Schouwenberg as saying "The way Windows' shortcuts are designed is flawed, and I think they will have a very hard time patching this." From the article:

For its part, Microsoft considers the flaw a security vulnerability, and has promised a patch. As of Tuesday, however, it had not set a timeline for a fix. Microsoft has acknowledged that attackers can use a malicious shortcut file, identified by the ".lnk" extension, to automatically execute their malware by getting users to view the contents of a folder containing a malformed shortcut. The risk is even greater if hackers use infected USB flash drives to spread their attack code, since the latter automatically executes on most Windows PCs as soon as drive is plugged into the machine.

Submission + - Database design with the user in mind

mcgrew writes: Fifteen or twenty years ago I got the very obvious idea of making entry of address data easier for the DEO by simply having the cursor move to the zip code field after the name field. The user would enter the zip code, which was looked up in a zip code/city/state table and the city and state popped up on the user's terminal. If the zip code wasn't in the table, the user wouold enter the city and state, and a field in the z/c/s table would flag it as a new entry for later examination and possible editing.

I've never seen anyone else's databases do this, and wonder why. At first I figured that it was for accuracy; accuracy is king in a database, and accuracy always trumps ease of use, especially in a large database. So I putzed around with some online databases, deliberately entering cities in the wrong state with mismatched zip codes, and all of them accepted the data.

So I'm sitting here scratching my head. Was this idea only obvious to me, or is there some other reason to not use this easily implimented idea?

Submission + - Movie piracy now seen as terrorism

mcgrew writes: While reading an AP story on Yahoo about the feds shutting down TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and Movies-Links.TV, I was a bit shocked at this line: "Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." So, how many of you are terrorists NOW?
Medicine

Submission + - Stem Cells curing blindness

mcgrew writes: The AP (via Yahoo) is reporting that the Italians can now cure blindness caused by chemical burns using the patient's own stem cells. Previously, this kind of injury needed either a corneal transplant or stem cells from someone else, both of which are plagued by problems with tisue rejection.

Unfortunately, this only works for damaged corneas — so far.
Space

Submission + - John Glenn: Keep space shuttles flying

mcgrew writes: The AP is reporting (via Yahoo) that Mercury astronaut John Glenn has some very logical reasons to keep the shuttle flying until a replacement is built.

Glenn doesn't believe the general public realizes what's happening on the space front. "Going to Russia and being, in effect, under control of Russia for our space program just doesn't sit right with me and I don't think it sits well with the American people, or won't, either," said Glenn, a former U.S. senator who rode the shuttle into orbit in 1998 at age 77. He turns 89 next month. Glenn said little if any money will be saved by canceling the shuttle program, considering all the millions of dollars going to Russia for rocket rides. At least two shuttle flights a year could keep the station going and the work force employed, until something new comes along, he said. The former astronaut wonders what will happen if there's an accident and Soyuz rockets are grounded. He supposes the space station — a $100 billion investment — would have to be abandoned. He also worries scientific research at the station will take a hit if experiments have to be launched from Russia and have no way of getting back to Earth in bulk.

Submission + - Finger in a power saw

mcgrew writes: One of the construction guys I drink with emailed this youtube video to me. I think it's a pretty ingenious bit of engineering, and I thought I'd share it with you fellowss. It shows a man putting his finger in a running saw, safely! One downside I can think of is that it wouldn't work with a diamond tipped blade. What other downsides are there?

Submission + - Facebook solves crime

mcgrew writes: From the Springfield State Journal Register:

A couple of days after a group of men stole his cell phone, an 18-year-old University of Illinois student noticed something curious on his Facebook page — a brand new photo of someone he didn't know, apparently taken with the phone.

Champaign police detective Don Shepard said Wednesday the man in the photo is 21-year-old Korey Woodard of Chicago. Woodard has been preliminarily charged with robbery. Shepard said the suspect isn't in custody, and a warrant has been issued for Woodard's arrest.

The detective said the robbery victim had his phone set to automatically load photos to his Facebook page when connected to a computer.

Shepard said the photo of the smiling Woodard showed up about two days after the Feb. 28 robbery.

The facebook photo is at the link supplied. The SJ-R publishes its stories under a Creative Commons license; the above blockquote is the entire news item.

Submission + - RNC Mailer Includes Phone Sex Number

mcgrew writes: CBS News is reporting that

Fresh on the heels of a scandal over a nearly $2,000 charge to the RNC at a bondage-themed nightclub comes word that a fundraising mailer the organization sent out included a phone number leading those who called to a phone-sex line offering "live, one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who will do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute."

The RNC says it was a mistake, that the mailer printed 1-800 instead of 1-202. What a typo! There's a link to an audio of some of the phone sex.

Submission + - Google changes its name

mcgrew writes: As of Today, Google has officially changed its name to 'Topeka', which, as Eric Schmidt's blog notes, is a word used by the Kansa and Ioway tribes to refer to 'a good place to dig for potatoes. The change came about because Topeka, Kansas officially changed its name to 'Google'.

As they say in the former city of Topeka, 'we're not in Kansas any more'.

There's a map on the blog showing proper useage of Topeka:

Green: Before our blind date I did a Topeka search on him
Yellow: Before our blind date I Topeka'ed him
Red: Before our blind date I Topeka'd him
NO NO NO!!! :Before our blind date I Topeka'ed him with Alta Vista

Don't believe me just because it's April Fool's day and I'm an asshat? Go see for yourself!
Space

Submission + - The Andromeda Galaxy is going to eat us

mcgrew writes: "The AP reports (via Yahoo) that the Andromeda Galaxy is a cannibal, and is headed our way. Astronomers have found evidence of galaxies it has consumed.

Our nearest major galactic neighbor is a cosmic cannibal. And it's heading this way eventually. Astronomers have long suspected Andromeda of being a space predator, consuming dwarf galaxies that wander too close. Now, cosmic detectives are doing a massive search of the neighborhood and have found proof of Andromeda's sordid past: They've spotted leftovers in Andromeda's wake.

Astronomers have known for decades that galaxies consume each other, sometimes violently, sometimes just creating new mega-galaxies. But this study is different because "of the scale of the cannibalism and we've found evidence directly in front of our eyes," said co-author Mike Irwin, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge in England.

The article says that the Milky Way, Andromeda, and Triangulum Galaxies are due for a massive cosmic pileup about three billion years from now."

Transportation

Submission + - Steam-powered car breaks century-old speed record

mcgrew writes: "New Scientist reports that a stem powered car has broken the 1906 record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) for the fastest steam powered automobile, the Stanley Steamer. The Inspiration made a top speed of 225 kilometres per hour (140 miles per hour) on August 26.

The car's engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.

The FIA requires two 1.6-km-long runs to be performed in opposite directions — to cancel out any effect from wind — within 60 minutes.

"
Books

Submission + - Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon to fight Google book deal

mcgrew writes: "Yahoo Tech is reporting that the Internet Archive is fighting the Google digital books settlment that was discussed here a short time ago.

Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are joining a coalition that hopes to rally opposition to Google's digital book ambitions and ultimately persuade a federal judge to block or revise the Internet search leader's plans.

The group, to be called the Open Book Alliance, is being put together by the Internet Archive, a longtime critic of Google's crusade to make digital copies of as many printed books as possible. A growing number of critics already have filed objections to Google's book settlement, but none have the clout that the Open Book Alliance figures to wield with three of the world's best-known technology companies on board.

Ironically, the alliance is working with one of the lawyers who helped convince the DoJ to file the antitrust suit against Microsoft.

I can't believe I'm rooting for Microsoft in a fight against Google!"

Biotech

Submission + - Why geeks get the girls 1

mcgrew writes: "According to this New Scientist article, the slashdot joke of "nerds don't get to have sex" has been scientifically discredited.

Increasing scientific evidence shows that brains count for a lot in mate choice. And now — for the first time — researchers have directly linked a male's cognitive performance to his luck with the ladies.

"Males that are better problem-solvers are mating with more females," says Jason Keagy, a behavioural ecologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who studies not the mating rituals of the political elite in nearby Washington DC, but those of a bird native to the forests of eastern Australia.

It's not nerds that don't get laid, it's dorks. A dork is a nerd minus the IQ. Also, a minority, those of us with asperger's syndrome, would have a hard time getting along with anyone, male or female.

I'd be willing to bet that most slashdotters are either married, or have a signifigant other."

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