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Comment de ja-vue (Score 1) 668

Almost two years ago, Wikipedia banned users from the State of Qatar from editing anonymously, and from signing up for accounts. At the time, it was dismissed as a storm in a tea-cup by Jim Wales. Many people decided it wasn't a problem because of the small size of the country.

Well, now the rest of the world is catching up with the Middle East in the use of transparent proxies, maybe Wikipedia will try to find some solution to the problem. In Qatar, for the last two years, we have continued to be blocked for months at a time from editing.

Data Storage

100x Denser Chips Possible With Plasmonic Nanolithography 117

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to the semiconductor industry, maskless nanolithography is a flexible nanofabrication technique which suffers from low throughput. But now, engineers at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new approach that involves 'flying' an array of plasmonic lenses just 20 nanometers above a rotating surface, it is possible to increase throughput by several orders of magnitude. The 'flying head' they've created looks like the stylus on the arm of an old-fashioned LP turntable. With this technique, the researchers were able to create line patterns only 80 nanometers wide at speeds up to 12 meters per second. The lead researcher said that by using 'this plasmonic nanolithography, we will be able to make current microprocessors more than 10 times smaller, but far more powerful' and that 'it could lead to ultra-high density disks that can hold 10 to 100 times more data than today's disks.'"

Voters Swayed By Candidates Who Share Their Looks 266

iandoh writes "Stanford researchers have found that voters are subconsciously swayed by candidates who share their facial features. In three experiments, researchers at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab worked with cheap, easy-to-use computer software to morph pictures of about 600 test subjects with photos of politicians. And they kept coming up with the same results: For the would-be voters who weren't very familiar with the candidates or in perfect lockstep with their positions or political parties, the facial similarity was enough to clinch their votes."
Social Networks

A Cautionary Tale of Open Source Social Technologies 330

eweekhickins writes "The 'country' drop-down menu on one organization's donations pages omits Israel as a country and includes 'Palestine.' Among other things, this means that Israelis can't donate to the organization from these pages; it also presents the risk of a PR nightmare for the organization. This EWeek story cautions that while basic Web 2.0 technologies combined with open source can be incredibly powerful and productive, they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention."

Asteroid Mission Competition Announces Winner 60

Riding with Robots writes "The Planetary Society invited participants to compete for $50,000 in prizes by designing a mission to rendezvous with and 'tag' a potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroid. The asteroid Apophis was used as the target for the mission design because it will come closer to Earth in 2029 than the orbit of geostationary satellites. The winning mission design is called Foresight, and calls for the use of off-the-shelf parts to undercut the price of other proposals. Here's a PDF of the winning proposal."
Sun Microsystems

Sun Asks China to Merge its Doc Format With ODF 114

christian.einfeldt writes "Sun's Chairman Scott McNealy has asked the world's most populous nation to merge its Uniform Office Format with the Open Document Format. Tech lawyer Andy Updegrove thinks that McNealy would not have flown to China and taken this chance of rejection if McNealy didn't think that there was a good likelihood of success."

Details of Next Gen Zune Surface 308

KMG writes "Zune Scene has got a scoop about the next generation Microsoft Zune. There will be two new models; a flash memory based and a hard drive based. Zune with HDD will be thinner and have larger storage capacity while the flash based will feature Wi-fi, video playback. So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod or it will be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys."
The Internet

Wikipedia Blocks Qatar [Updated] 204

GrumpySimon writes "Wikipedia has blocked the entire country of Qatar from editing pages. Whilst the ban is due to spam-abuse coming from the IP address in question, the fact that this belongs to the country's sole high-speed internet provider has the unintended consequence of stopping Qataris from editing the wiki. The ban has raised concerns about impartiality — the majority of Al Jazeera journalists operate out of Qatar, for example. This raises a number of issues about internet connectivity in small countries — what other internet bottlenecks like this exist?" Update: 01/02 13:32 GMT by Z : Jim Wales wrote in the comments that the story is 'completely false'. Either way, the ban has been lifted and anonymous editing is once again possible from Qatar.

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