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Comment Re:Exponential Speedup?? (Score 3, Informative) 112

This comment isn't accurate. There are problems for which quantum computers are indeed exponentially faster than our best known algorithms running on a standard computer. The most important of these is probably simply quantum simulation - i.e. simulating quantum mechanical systems. This has umpteen applications to physics, chemistry and molecular biology (e.g. drug design).


Submission + - Are all the best games NP-hard? ( 1

Catullus writes: Following in the footsteps of Tetris and Minesweeper, the simple yet addictive multiplatform game Flood-It is the latest puzzle to be proven to be hardNP-hard, to be exact. This means that there's no way to write an efficient program to beat the game, unless P=NP. This research by computer scientists from Bristol University raises the intriguing question: are these games fun precisely because they're hard for computers to solve, and need a spark of human creativity?

Submission + - Guardian gagged from reporting UK parliament (

An anonymous reader writes: The prominent UK newspaper The Guardian has been legally prevented from reporting a question in UK parliament. This is fairly absurd given that the question is a matter of public record (#61) — but the country's special libel laws mean that the newspaper cannot inform the public of what parliament are up to.

The question concerns the oil trading company trafigura, the toxic waste scandal they are involved in, and their generous use of libel lawyers to silence those who would report on the whole thing.

(Dear editors, the reason you should use this submission rather than the one already made is that I've provided more context in the form of what the gagged question is, and what it's about.)


Submission + - The Guardian Silenced By Parliment

IonOtter writes: In what may turn out to be a blatant violation of free speech guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of 1688, the UK Parliament has issued a "gag order" on The Guardian regarding parliamentary proceedings which, according to the gag order, cannot be revealed.

"Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found. The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented-for the first time in memory-from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret." (full story)

The only thing they are allowed to say is that the issue involves "...the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations." However, one British newspaper, The Spectator, isn't backing down, and have given detailed answers.

N Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura."

The Spectator is also providing routine updates on the spread of the story, which is hitting the Twitterverse as #trafigura, and also commenting on how this story has yet to be seen on the BBC website.


Scientology Given Direct Access To eBay Database 684

An anonymous reader writes "The Church of Scientology can delete auctions from eBay with no supervision under the VeRO program, and has used this to delete all resale of the e-meters Scientologists use. This is to stop members from buying used units from ex-members instead of buying from the official (and very expensive) source. Given Scientology's record of fraud and abuse, should eBay give them this level of trust? Will this set a precedent for other companies that want to stop the aftermarket resale of their products?"

UK Report Slams EULAs 239

draevil writes "Britain's National Consumer Council has completed an investigation into the practice of software End User License Agreements(EULAs) with the conclusion that many consumers are signing away their legal rights and agreeing to unfair terms, which they could never have scrutinized before purchase. The report also acknowledges that even if the EULA were available prior to purchase, it would be unreasonable to expect an average consumer to understand the terms to which they were agreeing. Here are the full report (PDF) and a summary." The NCC recommends that the European Commission bring softwre licenses under the same consumer protections that apply to other products in the EU.

NASA Plans Lunar Mobile Phone Network 164

If NASA and the British National Space Centre succeed in their 'MoonLite mission' you won't be able to say, "In space no one can hear your ringtone." They plan on building a satellite system/phone network that would provide full four-bar signal coverage for colonists living in the base NASA wants to build at the south pole of the moon after 2020.
The Internet

Submission + - The Pirate Bay, an own country?

DemoniZer writes: "The Pirates wants to buy their own country. The Pirate Bay has gone official about their intensions to set up an permanent harbor at Sealand Attractive Micronation The micronation is from the world war 2, and is located near the coast of England, with 550 square feet. Sealand has potential to be a juridical freezone, and as an independent state at international water. You could be a citizen! The Pirate Bay want's more PayPal-Donations to try collecting more money, with a promise that you could be come a member of Sealand if they should win the bid-round. "It should be a great place for everybody, with high-speed Internets access, no copyright laws and vip accounts to The Pirate Bay." Says the swedish owners in the announcement on The Pirate Bay has also looked at the micronation right outside sweden, called Ladonia"

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