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Sound As the New Illegal Narcotic? Screenshot-sm 561

ehrichweiss writes "The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is warning parents and teachers of a new threat to our children: sounds. Apparently kids are now discovering binaural beats and using them to get 'physiological effects.' The report goes on with everyone suggesting that such aural experiences will act as a gateway to drug usage and even has one student claiming there are 'demons' involved. Anyone who has used one of those light/sound machines knows all about the effects that these sounds will give and to state that they will lead kids to do drugs is nonsense at best. It seems the trend in scaring the citizens with a made-up problem has gone to the next level."

The "King of All Computer Mice" Finally Ships Screenshot-sm 207

An anonymous reader writes "The much-anticipated, much-mocked 18-button joystick mouse from WarMouse is now shipping. The press release features an impressive set of user quotes from game designer Chris Taylor, new SFWA president John Scalzi, and a doctor who runs a medical software company. Crazy or not, it's obviously more than just a gaming mouse."

Alberta Scientists Discover Largest-Ever Cache of Dinosaur Bones 154

Cryolithic writes "The largest cache of dinosaur bones ever found has been unearthed in Alberta. From the article: '... officials at the Royal Tyrrell Museum say the Hilda site provides the first solid evidence that some horned dinosaur herds were much larger than previously thought, with numbers comfortably in the high hundreds to low thousands. ... Rather than picturing the animals as drowning while crossing a river, a classic scenario that has been used to explain bonebed occurrences at many sites in Alberta, the research team interpreted the vast coastal landscape as being submerged during tropical storms or hurricanes. With no high ground to escape to, most of the members of the herd drowned in the rising coastal waters. Carcasses were deposited in clumps across kilometers of ancient landscape as floodwaters receded.'"

Sneak Preview For Coming KDE SC 4.5 249

omlx writes "KDE SC 4.5 is in feature freeze right now. Therefore, I decided to share some early screenshots with you. In general there are no major changes; it's all about polishing and fixing bugs. There are a lot of under-the-hood changes in libs, which as end users we cannot see. KDE SC will be released in August 2010." Note: you can also try out a beta of the release now, if you'd like.

The Big Technical Mistakes of History 244

An anonymous reader tips a PC Authority review of some of the biggest technical goofs of all time. "As any computer programmer will tell you, some of the most confusing and complex issues can stem from the simplest of errors. This article looking back at history's big technical mistakes includes some interesting trivia, such as NASA's failure to convert measurements to metric, resulting in the Mars Climate Orbiter being torn apart by the Martian atmosphere. Then there is the infamous Intel Pentium floating point fiasco, which cost the company $450m in direct costs, a battering on the world's stock exchanges, and a huge black mark on its reputation. Also on the list is Iridium, the global satellite phone network that promised to make phones work anywhere on the planet, but required 77 satellites to be launched into space."

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"

The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers Screenshot-sm 127

Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."

Copyright and the Games Industry 94

A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."

Submission + - Scientists discover how DNA is folded within the n (

mikael writes: is reporting that scientists have discovered how DNA is folded within the nucleus of a cell such that active genes remain accessible without becoming tangled. The first observation is that genes are actually stored in two locations. The first location acts as a cache where all active genes are kept. The second location is a more denser storage area where inactive genes are kept. The second observation is that all genes are stored as ">fractal globules which allows genes that are used together to be adjacent to each other when folded, even though they may be far apart when unfolded.

Submission + - Gates proposes waiving royalties on GM seeds (

An anonymous reader writes: Bill Gates spoke at the World Food Symposium today, calling for a renewed Green Revolution and stating his support for genetically modified crops. More importantly: he's proposing that the GM seeds be licensed so that there's no additional cost to farmers. Now, studies show that people tend to value stuff that they have to pay for, but is this going to actually work? Can the big agribusinesses--Monsanto comes to mind--pass up the chance to make a buck off of impoverished African farmers in the interest of Doing the Right Thing? Fascinating stuff. Analysis at but has more play-by-play.

Hackers Clone Elvis' Passport 164

Barence writes "Hackers have released source code that allows the 'backup' of RFID-protected passports, although the tool can potentially be used to create fake or cloned documents. The Hacker's Choice, a non-commercial group of computer security experts, has released a video showing a cloned passport being approved by a security scanner at a Dutch airport. When the reader scans the passport, it is revealed to belong to one Elvis Aaron Presley, complete with picture. Reports of the hackers serenading security staff with 'Are You Clonesome Tonight' are unconfirmed."

Man Uses Remote Logon To Help Find Laptop Thief Screenshot-sm 251

After his computer was stolen, Jose Caceres used a remote access program to log on every day and watch it being used. The laptop was stolen on Sept. 4, when he left it on top of his car while carrying other things into his home. "It was kind of frustrating because he was mostly using it to watch porn," Caceres said. "I couldn't get any information about him." Last week the thief messed up and registered on a web site with his name and address. Jose alerted the police, who arrested a suspect a few hours later. The moral of the story: never go to a porn site where you have to register.

Feed Engadget: RIM developing angled Blackberry keyboard? (

Filed under: Cellphones

If you've been astounding friends and family with your thousands-of-words-per-minute typing skills on your Blackberry, RIM's latest patent may come as a bit of a heart-stopper. According to "recent" filings from the smartphone manufacturer, a new style of keyboard is on the table which may move your familiar key placement into a slightly more angular position. The purpose of the proposed pad is ostensibly to improve accuracy by creating a more "natural" placement for your thumbs -- though this concept might be a little more effort than required. Of course, since all kinds of crazy designs get filed with the patent office, we wouldn't put too much faith in this seeing the light of day, though it is an intriguing look into RIM's design process.

[Via Mobilewhack]

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