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Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 2, Informative) 839

The lower atmospheric pressure in Denver means that the air holds less water vapor at the same temperature. The water vapor in the atmosphere condenses on the snowflakes as they fall. If the temperature is relatively close to melting point, the condensation on the snow flakes will not freeze completely and result in a "wet" snow. Since there is more water vapor in the Illinois air versus the Denver air at a given temperature, the effect is more pronounced in Illinois.

Comment Re:It Probably Wouldn't Be Legal (Score 1) 154

Databases are indeed copyrightable, but the U.S. requires an element of creativity to do so as decided in the case of Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc.

From the parent's link:

According to the Supreme Court, a compilation is not copyrightable per se, but is copyrightable only if its facts have been "selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship," citing the definition of a compilation in 17 U.S.C. 101.

This holding overruled numerous lower courts that adopted a "sweat of the brow" or "industrious collection" test of copyrightability. Under this test, if a compilation was created as a result of a great deal of effort (such as the collection of thousands of names and addresses), copyright protection would extend to the compilation regardless of the creativity or originality in the selection, coordination, or arrangement of the facts.

The Supreme Court expressly stated that this "sweat of the brow" analysis was faulty, and that copyright extended only to the original selection, coordination, and arranging of data, and not to any unprotected facts contained within the compilation.


Submission + - Goatse Mail To Spammer Ends In Police Citation 2

Dave writes: Locally, we have a happy hour event for Information Technology professionals to meet up and have a few drinks. Each month, it is hosted at a different location, and each month a different business sponsors the beer. As part of this event, there is an e-mail sign up for the actual happy hour mailing list to receive information about where the next event takes place and who is sponsoring it. The business where the event took place happened to take their own copy of this list and used it to start e-mailing me about their non-related promotions (Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, etc).

I replied nicely the first time with a title of 'UNSUBSCRIBE', the full original message (including the header showing which e-mail address the message was sent to), and quotes from the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which says that there must be a clear unsubscribe mechanism (which there was not), and that requests must be honored within 10 days. This past week, I received more promotional materials and replied with an attached image of goatse.

I was contacted today by an officer in reference to "Unlawful Use Of Computerized Communication Systems". I was told that this could be prosecuted under state criminal law but that "since I had cooperated and returned the officer's phone call", I will instead be issued a municipal citation (locally adopted state law, references the same exact legal code 947.0125) for $300.

I fully plan on going to my court date to contest the citation on principle, but I thought maybe some other slashdotters might have had similar experiences or may be able to provide me with some basis on which to fight this.

Comment Re:Calling this "liquid wood" (Score 1) 226

I think you misunderstood what the parent was trying to say. The poster is suggesting we replicate one of nature's lesser carbon sequestration methods, which is the burying of plant and animal matter that will eventually be transformed into oil. The parent is suggesting that as soon as a tree matures and slows down its growth, we remove it, bury it, and replace it with a young tree that will pull carbon out of the atmosphere faster.

1) You are correct that such a method is a timber farm and that a normal ecosystem will not exist. But since the goal of the forest is not to provide usable tree products, the need for pesticides in not present. If a disease runs through and wipes out a large number of the trees, we simply bury those trees earlier than we wanted and start growing new ones.

2) If you think that managed forests in developed countries are still often clear-cut, you know very little about the timber industry as they have been selectively cutting trees since the eighties.

3) This plan would not put a pressure on landfills because it would require a specialized location anyway. To get around the methane problem, this area would have to be far deeper than an above ground landfill. In fact, it may be easier to turn the trees into woodchips and fill up abandoned mines with them. Or perhaps produce a wood-pulp slurry and inject it back into former oil-fields.


Submission + - Obama Moves to Link Pentagon-NASA (

Amiga Trombone writes: "President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.'s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China.

Obama's transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration because military rockets may be cheaper and ready sooner than the space agency's planned launch vehicle, which isn't slated to fly until 2015, according to people who've discussed the idea with the Obama team."

Comment Re:trams! (Score 1) 180


If the solution to autonomous driving is to modify every road with extra features to help vehicles navigate themselves, that was accomplished long ago with far simpler methods than those in the article.

Even the accomplishment of using magnets is not that impressive, it is basic engineering and control systems. The focus of actual autonomous vehicle research is to allow navigation without the cost of upgrading every road across the country.


Submission + - MySpace Not Responsible for Sexual Assault

Common Sense writes: "Those looking to cash in after meeting sexual predators on websites like MySpace have been dealt a serious legal setback. The US District Court in Austin, Texas ruled in favor of MySpace in the $30 million lawsuit questioning whether it was responsible for allowing a 13 year old girl to lie about her age and meet a man who turned out to be a sexual predator. Judge Sparks wrote in his ruling that, "if anyone had a duty to protect [the victim], it was her parents, not MySpace." Score one for common sense."

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