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Submission + - Banks push Congress to end credit unions' non-profit tax exemption

TheSeatOfMyPants writes: Banks in the USA angry at losing fed-up customers to credit unions are pressuring Congress to kill the tax exemption CUs need to survive as not-for-profit entities. According to the article, "the tax exemption is crucial to credit unions, which by law can't raise capital through public stock offerings the way banks can."

Based on figures in the article, the change would cost consumers $10B in fees/savings, and the government would only see a net gain of $0.1B in tax revenue. Credit unions are fighting the one way they can: asking Americans to contact their Congress reps via Don't Tax My Credit Union.
Idle

Submission + - Samurai sword-wielding man aids woman being attacked (foxnews.com)

ekimd writes: A Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop helped a neighbor woman escape a Tuesday morning attack by a man who had been stalking her. A fourth-degree black belt in the Kishindo form of martial arts, Hendrix owns a collection of swords and weapons that he trains with. "Some people have bats they go to," said Hendrix. "I have my sword."

Submission + - Cyber Intelligence Act passed .. (rt.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The US House of Representatives has passed the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act (CISPA) .. The authors of the bill say this is an effort to better combat the reportedly increasing attempts to harm America’s critical computer networks and pilfer the systems of private companies for intellectual property and other sensitive trade secrets.

Submission + - French intelligence agency forces removal of Wikipedia entry

saibot834 writes: The French domnestic intelligence agency DCRI has forced a Wikipedia administrator to delete an article about a local military base. The administrator, who is also the president of Wikimédia France, has been threatened by the agency with immediate reprisals after his initial refusal to comply.

Following a discussion on the administrator's noticeboard, the article (which is said to violate a law on the secrecy of the national defense) has been reinstated by a foreign user. Prior to pressuring the admin, DCRI contacted the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), which refused to remove the article. WMF claimed the article only contained publicly available information, in accordance with Wikipedia's verifiability policy.

While the consequences for Wikimedia's community remain unclear, one thing is certain: The military base article – now available in English – will get more public awareness than ever before.
Games

Submission + - Accountant Creates An Entire Role-Playing Game With Microsoft Excel (designtaxi.com)

luckymutt writes: Microsoft Excel can be a powerful tool in the office, however, Canadian accountant Cary Walkin took the program to a whole new level by http://designtaxi.com/news/356751/Accountant-Creates-An-Entire-Role-Playing-Game-With-Microsoft-Excel/> creating an entire role-playing game (RPG) inside a Excel workbook.

Called ‘Arena.Xlsm’, it features a level system where players have to defeat a series of enemies in order to progress through the game, and gain better weapons and skills.
Download here

Submission + - Researcher:Hackers can cause traffic jams by manipulating real-time traffic data (pcworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Hackers can influence real-time traffic-flow-analysis systems to make people drive into traffic jams or to keep roads clear in areas where a lot of people use Google or Waze navigation systems, a German researcher demonstrated at BlackHat Europe.

“You don’t need special equipment for this and you can manipulate traffic data worldwide,” Jeske said.

Science

Submission + - Scientists clone extinct frog that gives birth from its mouth (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Australian scientists have successfully revived and reactivated the genome of an extinct frog. The "Lazarus Project" team implanted cell nuclei from tissues collected in the 1970s and kept in a conventional deep freezer for 40 years into donor eggs from a distantly-related frog. Some of the eggs spontaneously began to divide and grow to early embryo stage with tests confirming the dividing cells contained genetic material from the extinct frog. The extinct frog in question is the Rheobatrachus silus, one of only two species of gastric-brooding frogs, or Platypus frogs, native to Queensland, Australia. Both species became extinct in the mid-1980s and were unique amongst frog species for the way in which they incubated their offspring.
Beer

Submission + - How Beer Gave Us Civilization

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jeffrey P. Khan writes in the NY Times that recent anthropological research suggests that human's angst of anxiety and depression ultimately results from our transformation, over tens of thousands of years, from biologically shaped, almost herd-like prehistoric tribes, to rational and independent individuals in modern civilization and that the catalyst for suppressing the rigid social codes that kept our clans safe and alive was fermented fruit or grain. "Once the effects of these early brews were discovered, the value of beer must have become immediately apparent," writes Khan. "With the help of the new psychopharmacological brew, humans could quell the angst of defying those herd instincts. Conversations around the campfire, no doubt, took on a new dimension: the painfully shy, their angst suddenly quelled, could now speak their minds." Examining potential beer-brewing tools in archaeological remains from the Natufian culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, the team concludes that “brewing of beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in the Late Epipaleolithic” era. In time, humans became more expansive in their thinking, as well as more collaborative and creative. A night of modest tippling may have ushered in these feelings of freedom — though, the morning after, instincts to conform and submit would have kicked back in to restore the social order. Today, many people drink too much because they have more than average social anxiety or panic anxiety to quell — disorders that may result, in fact, from those primeval herd instincts kicking into overdrive. But beer’s place in the development of civilization deserves at least a raising of the glass. As the ever rational Ben Franklin supposedly said, “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”"
United States

Submission + - The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States (vice.com) 3

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "Bam! For anyone that's paid a speck of attention to the tedium of political redistricting, which happens while a state grows unevenly, (and must dynamically respond to density, electorate disparity, natural resources and ridgelines, etc.), this is straight out of some psychedelic dream. For Democrats, it could be straight out of a nightmare. That's because Freeman's map necessitates 50 equally populous United States. His methods for creating the map are explained thusly:

"The algorithm was seeded with the fifty largest cities. After that, manual changes took into account compact shapes, equal populations, metro areas divided by state lines, and drainage basins. In certain areas, divisions are based on census tract lines... The suggested names of the new states are taken mainly from geographical features."

The new 50 states would be equally potent in terms of voting, but how many would be red? I made this layered GIF of Romney vs. Obama by county to try and figure things out."

Science

Submission + - Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Sonic Boom Shatters Windows (slate.com) 1

dovf writes: The Bad Astronomer analyzes incoming reports about the aparent meteoric explosion over Russia: "Apparently, at about 09:30 local time, a very big meteor burned up over Chelyabinsk, a city in Russia just east of the Ural mountains, and about 1500 kilometers east of Moscow. The fireball was incredibly bright, rivaling the Sun! There was a pretty big sonic boom from the fireball, which set off car alarms and shattered windows. I’m seeing some reports of many people injured (by shattered glass blown out by the shock wave). I’m also seeing reports that some pieces have fallen to the ground, but again as I write this those are unconfirmed." This is the best summary I've found so far, and links to lots of videos and images. He also clarifies something I've been wondering about: "This is almost certainly unrelated to the asteroid 2012 DA14 that will pass on Friday. See below for details."
Japan

Submission + - Japanese "cyber crime" suspect arrested for petting a stray cat (mainichi.jp)

siddesu writes: A man was arrested this morning in Tokyo because he was videotaped approaching a famous stray cat in the popular tourist destination of Enoshima near Tokyo.

The animal was used some months ago to deliver (via an SD card strapped to its leash) a message ridiculing the cyber crime unit of the Japanese police for their failure to apprehend a "hacker", who posted "threatening messages" to several popular boards.

The investigation of the pranks since October last year has so far resulted in four arrests of innocent people.

Cloud

Submission + - OnLive's epic plan for a new type of video game (redbull.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: OnLive's had a tough twelve months anyway you look at it, but as a new profile of the cloud game streaming service points out, throughout it all, service never dropped, and the number of platforms it's on keeps growing. Up next is the tiny Ouya console, but in a wide-ranging interview, OnLive's general manager talks up plans to bring MMOs to the service, and even a whole new type of video game, one that will run on many servers, not just one PC: "“Look at how CGI has changed cinema over the last few years — you can do CGI essentially realtime. It could completely change what a video game looks like. That leads us to new technologies. Then game designers say ‘What could I really do with a computing platform that is so powerful but also available across so many devices?’ You’re no longer constrained by computing power — that has tremendous opportunity.”"
NASA

Submission + - NASA: Feb. 15 asteroid fly-by will buzz Earth closer than many satellites (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "NASA says an asteroid about half the size of a football field will blow past Earth on Feb 15 closer than many man-made satellites. NASA added that while the asteroid, designated 2012 DA14 has no change of striking Earth, since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet."

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