Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Another blow to Irish online freedom (

Diabolus Advocatus writes: As an Irishman I am more and more disgusted every day by blatant disregard of net neutrality and freedom of speech in Ireland. Whether it's eircom censoring thepiratebay and cutting off users accused of filesharing or the blasphemy law introduced in 2009. Previously, it's been discovered from documents obtained through FOI that the Irish government is in discussions regarding implementing a filter like China, or Iran. Disgusting and worrying.

The latest development in the restriction of Irish internet use is from mobile operator o2, which has blocked access to the popular image hosting site As usual, the excuse is 'dear god, think of the children' pushed by the masterminds of the blockade and self-appointed internet police — The IWF .

Submission + - French Prez Caught Violating His Own Copyright Law (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been caught violating someone's copyright again. This time, presidential services made 400 unauthorized copies of a DVD when only 50 had been made by the publisher. Mr. Sarkozy, of course, is the one pushing the HADOPI law, which would disconnect the internet service of an alleged pirate after three allegations of infringement. This isn't the first time he's been connected to copyright violations, either. His party had to pay some 30,000 Euro for using a song without authorization. If he were he subject to his own law, Mr. Sarkozy would be subject to having his internet disconnected the next time he pirates something."

Submission + - The Fall of the Maya, New Clues Revealed ( 1

Matt_dk writes: For 1200 years, the Maya dominated Central America. At their peak around 900 A.D., Maya cities teemed with more than 2,000 people per square mile — comparable to modern Los Angeles County. Even in rural areas the Maya numbered 200 to 400 people per square mile. But suddenly, all was quiet. And the profound silence testified to one of the greatest demographic disasters in human prehistory — the demise of the once vibrant Maya society. What happened? Some NASA-funded researchers think they have a pretty good idea.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Cool-sounding things to do with Beowulf clusters. 1

brentonboy writes: I have been scavenging computers out of trash and recycling bins for a few years, and my roommate and I finally decided to put all our boxes to use in a Beowulf cluster, more to impress visitors than anything else. So we have this stack of computers, and a good answer to the question "what is that?" But now we need a really impressive answer to the next question: "what is it doing?" So what are some neat things to have a small ragtag "conversation starter" Beowulf cluster work on?

Submission + - First Death from Toxic Seaweed?

Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that French investigators are examining whether a driver who died after carrying three truckloads of sea lettuce (Ulva Lactuca) has become the first victim of a toxic seaweed that is clogging parts of the Brittany coast. Sea lettuce is harmless in the sea, but as it decomposes on the beach it releases hydrogen sulphide. Researchers from France's National Institute for Environmental Technology and Hazards (Ineris) who visited the same beach found the deadly gas at such high concentrations that it could be "deadly in few minutes". "When you walk into the crust of such accumulation, you make a hole in a reservoir of hydrogen sulphide, and this gas is very toxic," said Alain Menesguen. Environmentalists say decades of misuse of Brittany's agricultural land is to blame for the explosion of algae, due to the high levels of nitrates used in fertilizers and excreted by the region's high concentration of livestock. The 48-year-old driver who had been part of the annual operation to remove 2,000 tons of rotting sea lettuce from the beaches at Binic had been working without a mask or gloves and died at the wheel of his vehicle when it crashed into a wall. His death was originally recorded as a heart attack but prosecutors now want to know if it was linked to the seaweed. "'We want to know if in future we should take precautions to safeguard workers who collect or transport seaweed," says Christian Urvoy, the mayor of Binic."
The Internet

Submission + - Microsoft DRM code for Netflix Streams hacked (

reddburn writes: "Macworld posted a story by IDN News Service about a hacker who has posted instructions for how to save streaming movies from Netflix, defeating Microsoft's DRM code designed to prevent users from saving the content. From the article:

A hacker who calls himself Dizzie wrote late last month on the Rorta hacking forum that "Netflix doesn't easily allow you to save the flicks and watch them at your leisure because the films are entrapped in some ... Windows Media DRM wrapper," referring to Microsoft's DRM system. Word of his hack spread more widely this week in various blogs and Web sites...He writes that the process for removing the DRM could take a few attempts, and the process does not remove the time limit imposed by Netflix on viewing the content. The Netflix site was down for maintenance early Thursday, although it was unclear if it was related to the hack. The site was back up later Thursday morning.

How long will it take for businesses to realize what the developers and engineers who work for them have known all along: there is no unbreakable DRM?"

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