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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 13 declined, 3 accepted (16 total, 18.75% accepted)

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Submission + - Bullshit jobs (

AliasMarlowe writes: In the 1930s, it was expected that by the year 2000, people would work about 15 hours per week. Instead, we have seen increases in hours worked, but the actual effort is about equivalent to a 15 hour week. The rest is just bullshit of various types. Productive jobs are downsized and denigrated, but bullshit jobs are valued and preserved. Do you have a bullshit job?

Submission + - Warner Bros beats Siegel estate (

AliasMarlowe writes: Warner Bros have won an important legal victory over the heirs of one of the creators of Superman, giving it total commercial control of the superhero. An appeals panel unanimously ruled that Jerome Siegel's heirs must abide by a 2001 letter accepting Warner's offer for their 50% share of Superman.

The letter was never formally turned into a contract, but the Judge considered that it represented an oral agreement, which was binding. Warner Brothers now owns 100% of the Superman franchise.

Submission + - Which Philip K Dick story for a movie?

AliasMarlowe writes: Several of Philip K. Dick's stories have been made into SciFi movies: A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, Imposter, Minority Report, Next, Paycheck, Screamers, The Adjustment Bureau, Total Recall. More are on the way, either made but unreleased (Radio Free Albermuth) or entering production (Ubik).

Dick's stories often feature dystopias of different sorts, and some are regularly referred to on Slashdot. So which of Philip K. Dick's other stories do denizens of Slashdot think would make the best SciFi movie:
  • none, enough already!
  • Faith of our Fathers (hallucination, religion)
  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (police state, identity erasure)
  • The Man in the High Castle (alternative history, Allies lost WW2)
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (collective hallucination, obsessive toy play)
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (religion)
  • all of them!
  • some other story, as explained in comments

Submission + - Moment of truth: Nokia-MS (

AliasMarlowe writes: Nokia may be approaching its "I don't want to go on the cart" moment sooner than many anticipated. A new rumour hit the financial markets that Microsoft will buy Nokia's mobile phone business, with the price thought to be around $19billion. It was not revealed whether Elop would be returning to Microsoft along with the phones, or whether he would wreak destruction on other parts of the Finnish company.

Of course, this rumour came just a day after Nokia's shares plummeted, so it may have even more nefarious underpinnings (MS grabbed once the price was down, or other traders want to remove losses, or short sellers being punished by bigger traders, etc.).

Submission + - Alcohol most damaging drug, according to UK expert (

AliasMarlowe writes: Prof. Nutt, who was formerly scientific advisor to the UK government on drug policy, has published an article in the Lancet comparing the damaging effects of various drugs on (i) the individual, and (ii) others in society. Top of the damage list is alcohol, followed by heroin and crack. Cocaine and tobacco came at about one third the score of alcohol, while ecstasy and LSD are estimated to be among the least damaging. No word in the BBC article on cannabis, perhaps to avoid influencing the Proposition 19 vote in California.

Just as a reminder, Prof. Nutt was sacked from his advisory position by the previous (Labour) government, apparently because he relied on actual evidence for making his recommendations instead of echoing what the politicians wanted to hear.


Submission + - Bad news! Porn film-making suspended. (

AliasMarlowe writes: Two of America's biggest porn movie studios have suspended all movie making. It's because a male star (un-named) has tested positive for HIV, and now they have the unenviable job of notifying his many recent co-stars. There may be some job openings in these studios, since HIV-infected performers are not at all welcome. The studios are Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures. But nobody will be surprised if they try to blame the financial hit on piracy of some sort.

Submission + - 3-strikes law cancelled in Ireland (

AliasMarlowe writes: The High Court in Ireland has essentially gutted the "Three Strikes" style laws passed in that country. To the dismay of media companies, the Court ruled in a case pitting an ISP (UPC, which initiated the action) against the media companies that a law cutting off file sharers was contrary to EU legislation, and could not be enforced. Other ISPs in Ireland may review their 3-strikes policies, although the biggest, Eircom, says it has not actually cut anyone off.

Submission + - Journal: Marching with al Qaeda? (

AliasMarlowe writes: Looking at the "shoe bomber" and the "underpants bomber", it is hard to escape the conclusion that they intended to fail at blowing up airliners. They intended instead to push Western society further from its own ideals and towards repression and reduction of rights and liberties. In this, they succeeded, and advanced the cause of their sponsors. My journal suggests what some of their next steps might be to lead the U.S. and others further down that slippery slope, and why the reflexive responses of "security" will do exactly what the terrorists want and further advance the cause of the terrorists and their sponsors.

Submission + - Recession hits porn industry ( 2

AliasMarlowe writes: "The unthinkable has actually happened. The porn industry, which was been untouched by several previous recessions, has been severely hit by the current recession. The Economist, ever watchful of important trends, includes the porn industry among the sectors its reporters monitor and analyze. They consider the 50-80% cuts in porn production to be a critical difference between the present recession and other, lesser recessions, with work for "actors" being greatly reduced, pay per performance being cut back. The industry spokespersons, of course, also blame the internet for supplying cheap plentiful porn which had already caused hardship; the economic slowdown was merely an additional hit. "The industry will shrink and stay shrunken" said one performer. Hard times or flaccid times?"

Submission + - Habitual multitaskers do it badly ( 1

AliasMarlowe writes: Those who multitask regularly, and consider themselves good at it were compared with those who generally single-task and consider themselves poor multitaskers. The comparison involved multitasking with a number of attention or context related tests. For the study, multitasking was defined as consuming multiple media sources at once — gaming, TV, IM, email, etc. Interestingly, the habitual multitaskers were much worse at multitasking than the single taskers in these relatively straightforward tests. In self-assessment the multitaskers considered themselves good at it and the single taskers considered themselves bad at it. An extreme case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, perhaps, with consequences for business and society.

Submission + - Too many humans on Earth ( 1

AliasMarlowe writes: Dr. Nina Federoff (a science advisor to the US government) asserts that the human population is at or past the Earth's limit for sustaining us, according to a report in the BBC.

Pressed on whether she thought the world population was simply too high, Dr Fedoroff replied: "There are probably already too many people on the planet."

In her opinion, to feed the current population adequately will require a departure from traditional agriculture, including increased use of GM crops and novel approaches to cultivation.

"We wouldn't think of going to our doctor and saying 'Treat me the way doctors treated people in the 19th Century', and yet that's what we're demanding in food production."

Dr. Federoff is an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Submission + - Intel and ASUS ask what kind of PC you'd like (

AliasMarlowe writes: Intel and ASUS have started a web site to collect users' ideas on what kind of PC to develop Although the usual requests such as faster boot or longer battery life can be entered, the Dream page on the site is intended to go beyond mere tweaking of the standard netbook, laptop, desktop, and server configurations.
So far, dream ideas proposed include the "ghetto blaster PC" equipped with powerful speakers, and the "happy PC" to wake you up in the morning Another submitter wants a PC to recognize that he is the user, but from analysis of typing style rather than login/password or a dodgy fingerprint scanner.
Obviously very few ideas will make it, either through technical infeasibility or perceived market size.


Submission + - On the spot drug test needed to enter bars ( 3

AliasMarlowe writes: Scottish police in Aberdeen have started a campaign to find drug users and dealers. Anyne wishing to enter a bar in Aberdeen will have to submit to a hand swab for immediate analysis. The analyzer can apparently detect cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin, even in trace amounts. If drugs are detected, the person will be searched and possibly arrested. This process is "voluntary", but anyone who refuses to allow a swab to be taken and analyzed will not be allowed into the pub. It is not known if refusal will lead to other consequences, but it may be viewed with suspicion.

The unintended consequence will probably be to push a significant amount of alcohol use into unmonitored locations, such as private clubs, or completely out of view just like use of other drugs. Bars will likely see a drop in revenues, since it will not be safe to visit one for weeks after consuming certain drugs.

United States

Submission + - Old materials resurface for "prebiotic soup (

AliasMarlowe writes: Stanley Miller performed the famous experiments in the 1950s showing that amino acids and other building blocks for biomolecules could be produced by passing lightning through a mix of simple hydrocarbons, water vapour, and ammonia (thought at the time to approximate the Earth's early atmosphere). Other experiments approximated the environment around volcanic eruptions, but those results were not published. Following his death last year, a colleague discovered the materials from those experiments, in labelled vials

Analysis of the contents of the vials indicates that the conditions around volcanic eruptions (still thought to be representative of such events in the early Earth) resulted in a higher yield of amino acids than the simple lightning experiments, and resulted in a greater variety of amino acids.

Yet again, corroborative evidence for the production of prebiotic materials in the very early Earth, on which more complex chemical processes could be built.


Submission + - Yet another rootkit for Windows via IE

AliasMarlowe writes: Yet another rootkit is being installed on Windows PCs via an Internet Explorer exploit which modifies the MBR to load malicious code on startup. Apparently originating in Russia, it is spreading mostly in Europe. The rootkit can download malware such as keyloggers, and can reinstall the malware if it is deleted by anti-virus programs. Typically, the purpose is to intercept login details for online banking (900 financial institutions), and send the harvested information to its originators. Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and 2003 may all be vulnerable.

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