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Submission + - Does Global Warming Contribute to Chaotic Weather? (

pickens writes: Seemingly disconnected disasters, like floods in New England, Arkansas, and Pakistan, fires in Russia, and drought in Africa, are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes. Theory suggests that a world warming up because of increasing greenhouse gases will feature heavier rainstorms in summer, bigger snowstorms in winter, more intense droughts in at least some places and more record-breaking heat waves and scientists and government reports say the statistical evidence shows that much of this is starting to happen. "The climate is changing," says Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. "Extreme events are occurring with greater frequency, and in many cases with greater intensity." Climate-change skeptics dispute such statistical arguments, contending that climatologists do not know enough about long-range patterns to draw definitive links between global warming and weather extremes. "It's not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability," says Dr. Kevin Trenberth. "Nowadays there's always an element of both."

First Halophile Potatoes Harvested 117

Razgorov Prikazka writes "A Dutch-based company from Groningen is trying to create a potato race that is able to survive in a saline environment. The first test-batch was just harvested (English translation of Dutch original) on the island Texel and seem to be in good shape. The company states that rising sea-levels will create a demand for halophile crops. I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water."

Comment WFMT Best Programming Music Ever (Score 1) 1019

I highly recommend listening to WFMT classical radio station (streaming, or in Chicago 98.7) while coding.

WFMT is the only station in the country that has announcer-read ads (i.e no jingles or pre-recorded commercials. Thus their commercials are non-intrusive.). Their announcers are excellent. The programming is accessible but a good mix. It's really great around Christmas.

Classical music for me helps me concentrate and, unlike my rock/rap doesn't distract me from intense concentration. (As a rule, I put on rock only when I'm doing work that doesn't require much concentration).

Don't like classical? It's actually good stuff if you develop a taste for it.

Lord of the Rings

Submission + - Tolkien Trust Sues New Line Cinema for $150M (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Just as happened in the lawsuit New Line Cinema settled with Peter Jackson last December, J.R.R. Tolkien's trust is suing New Line Cinema for $150 million. Per their 1969 contract, they're owed 7.5% of the movie's gross, less 'certain expenses'. New Line Cinema disagrees — thanks to Hollywood accounting, it believes that it owes nothing at all. The trust also seeks to terminate New Line Cinema's rights, which would kill the planned 'The Hobbit' movie. Or they can always wait until the copyright expires in 2043, barring future extensions."
Linux Business

Submission + - Australian open source workers earn more money 2

Stony Stevenson writes: IT workers who specialise in free and open source software are earning more than the national average for IT, according to the results of Australia's first open source census. The average full time salary of respondents to the Australian Open Source Industry and Community Census was between $76,000 and $100,000, but the 10 percent working on open source full time were earning almost three times the national median.

Submission + - OSX gaining market share, but how much? ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: This article claims OSX's share of the OS market is up to 7.57%, up from 7.31% a year earlier (linux also gained a bit of ground, from 0.63% to 0.67%). But the statistics were gathered by monitoring web traffic from the server side, so this doesn't take into account OSX users who are using Windows in VMWare, Parallels, or Boot Camp at the time. Another article predicts that OSX will have 12% of the OS market by 2011. Could they be there already? What is OSX's real share of the market? How could this be measured more accurately?

Submission + - Russian News Story Video Game Murder (

friendlyspidey writes: "If only Jack Thompson followed Russian news he would sure to point everyone to this story involving Lineage II. Apparently he now has some ground for his 'murder simulation' rhetoric. That or sociopaths have hobbies too. From the Article: "It all started when two clans — the Coo-clocks, made up of mostly students, and the so-called Platanium with more experienced gamers of over thirty — started fighting to wipe out each other on screen. 33-year-old Albert used to spend hours in front of his computer. On the web he had his own clan and a dozen of warriors. Just days before the New Year in a virtual battle his clan killed a member of the hostile Coo-clocks. Days later the enemies agreed to meet literally face to face in the real world.""
United States

Submission + - Maryland Scraps Diebold Voting System

beadfulthings writes: After eight years and some $65 million, the state of Maryland is taking its first steps to return to an accountable, paper-ballot based voting system. Governor Martin O'Malley has announced an initial outlay of $6.5 million towards the $20 million cost of an optical system which will scan and tally the votes while the paper ballots are retained as a backup. The new (or old) system is expected to be in place by 2010 — or four years before the state finishes paying off the bill for the touch-screen system, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Church of Scientology website attacked by hackers ( 3

DragonFire1024 writes: "Wikinews has learned that according to an Internet posting made just over 24 hours ago, the Church of Scientology's website is being attacked by hackers, causing the site to shut down.

The attack was launched on Wednesday by a user labelled "Anonymous", on the website "Insurgency Wiki", a spinoff of 4chan. The "History" section of the site explains, in a satirical fashion, that the incident was prompted by the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. Though YouTube is complying with the Church of Scientology's requests to take down the video, other sites such as have stated that they will keep hosting the video.

Writing in a blog post, Matthew Ingram of The Globe and Mail dubbed the ongoing conflict involving the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove the Cruise video from the Internet: "Scientology vs. the Internet, part XVII". He characterized the conflict between the Church of Scientology and anonymous posters of the Cruise video as "another small skirmish in a war that Scientology has been waging for almost 15 years, since the early days of newsgroups such as alt.religion.scientology, which posted internal church documents in 1994. Lawsuits have been filed, mailing lists have been shut down, homes of discussion group participants have been raided and their computers seized — an all-out war.""

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - To The Rich, From America

theodp writes: "Newsweek's Daniel Gross reminds The Rich that in return for massive tax rate cuts on their income, dividends and capital gains, they were supposed to spend and invest the resulting windfall close to home. But America's private-equity firms are instead plowing cash into India, China, Asia and Latin America, and private bankers are urging wealthy clients to drop the home bias."

Submission + - Has AT&T Lost its Corporate Mind?

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "Tim Wu has an interesting (and funny) article on Slate that says that AT&T's recent proposal to examine all the traffic it carries for potential violations of US intellectual property laws is not just bad but corporate seppuku bad. At present AT&T is shielded by a federal law they wrote themselves that provides they have no liability for "Transitory Digital Network Communications" — content AT&T carries over the Internet. To maintain that immunity, AT&T must transmit data "without selection of the material by the service provider" and "without modification of its content" but if AT&T gets into the business of choosing what content travels over its network, it runs the serious risk of losing its all-important immunity. "As the world's largest gatekeeper," Wu writes, "AT&T would immediately become the world's largest target for copyright infringement lawsuits." ATT's new strategy "exposes it to so much potential liability that adopting it would arguably violate AT&T's fiduciary duty to its shareholders," concludes Wu."

Submission + - OOXML: IBM, Google, Australia, NZ say no (

Bergkamp10 writes: A recent symposium at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, saw representatives from Google, IBM, Open Source New Zealand, Open Source Industry Australia, the National Archives of Australia and others voice their apprehension towards the adoption of Microsoft's OOXML as an international standard. This Computerworld article offers a summary of the key points as to why representatives from these organisations do not support the standardisation of OOXML. Issues such as accessibility for vision impaired people, cultural and linguistic adaptations (OOXML's lack of consideration that what constitutes a weekend in western culture is not the same as in the middle east), legacy issues posed by the national archives concerned that OOXML is 'reinventing the wheel', IBM's position that OOXML does not meet any of the ISO guidelines for what constitutes a standard, google's assertion that more should be done to improve ODF before adopting a new document standard, and the Open Source Industry Australia's cautions against the proposal that the ongoing administration of the standard be conducted within ECMA are just some of the issues raised at the symposium. A very interesting article from the key opponents of OOXML.

Submission + - The RIAA makes things worse (

John Holmes writes: "Don Reisinger at CNET has a great article that describes the true intentions of the RIAA and takes them to task on a point-by-point basis. From the article: "To get a feeling for why the RIAA has implemented this strategy and has seemingly ignored the piracy cartels all over the world, choosing the soft target instead, I got in touch with the organization and asked a representative 10 questions to clear the air. Unfortunately, the answers given proved even more damning to an organization that is already sitting on a powder keg." Best quote from the RIAA in the story: "College students have reached a stage in life when their music habits are crystallized," Duckworth said. "And their appreciation for intellectual property has not yet reached its full development.""

Submission + - Biofuels, MPG Law, X Prize Flood Detroit Auto Show (

An anonymous reader writes: The shadow of the new 35-mpg CAFE standard is hanging over the automakers at this week's Detroit auto show, where GM said it would make cheap ethanol by 2011, Toyota said it would have a plug-in Prius by 2010 and Chrysler unveiled three cool "green" concepts. A bunch of the Automotive X Prize plans are starting to leak out in the motor city as well. But in a year when alt-fuel research won't catch up with all-out car power, the new Corvette is still the geek's delight of the show.
Media (Apple)

Submission + - Old Braun Products Hold Secrets to Apple's Future (

An anonymous reader writes: 'The year 2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of the iMac, the computer that changed everything at Apple, hailing a new design era spearheaded by design genius Jonathan Ive. What most people don't know is that there's another man whose products are at the heart of Ive's design philosophy, an influence that permeates every single product at Apple, from hardware to user-interface design. That man is Dieter Rams, and his old designs for Braun during the '50s and '60s hold all the clues not only for past and present Apple products, but their future as well.' The comparisons in the article are striking, as well as the thoughts on the matter. However, it's even more interesting to see so many old amazing products and trying to figure out what elements the Next Big Thing from Apple may take.

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