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Social Networks

Meg Whitman Campaign Shows How Not To Use Twitter 147

tsamsoniw writes "California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign team attempted to share with her Twitter followers an endorsement from a police association. Unfortunately, the campaign press secretary entered an incorrect or incomplete URL in the Tweet, which took clickers to a YouTube video featuring a bespectacled, long-haired Japanese man in a tutu and leggings rocking out on a bass guitar. And for whatever reason, the Tweet, which went out on the 18th, has remained active through today."

Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"

Lawsuit Claims WGA Is Spyware 360

twitter writes "Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), Microsoft's euphemistically named digital restrictions scheme, is the target of another spyware and false advertising lawsuit. 'Microsoft this week was sued in a Washington district court for allegedly violating privacy laws through Windows XP's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) copy protection scheme. Similar to cases filed in 2006, the new class action case accuses Microsoft of falsely representing what information WGA would send to verify the authenticity of Windows and that it would send back information [daily IP address and other details that could be used to trace information back to a home or user]. The complaint further argued that Microsoft portrayed WGA as a necessary security update rather than acknowledge its copy protection nature in the update. WGA's implementation also prevented users from purging the protection from their PCs without completely reformatting a computer's system drive.' There were at least two other lawsuits launched in 2006 over WGA. According to the Wikipedia article, none of them have been resolved. The system is built into Vista and Windows 7."

Submission + - SPAM: Don't Mess With Scientists 1

bloggerp writes: "If there's one rule in election-year politics, it's this: Don't mess with the science crowd. OK, labor unions and the NRA matter too, but John McCain may want to brush up on his stars and planets after Tuesday night's debate."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Google's selective translation

An anonymous reader writes: It's bound to be spreading all over the Brazilian blogosphere by now: if one uses Google Translate to translate "USA é o pior país do mundo" ("USA is the worst country in the world"), the resulting translation is "Brazil is the worst country in the world." This seems to happen in several other translations from Portuguese as well, and seems to be linked to having "worst" or "not good" in the text: "Muitas pessoas acham que USA é o país com a pior torta de maçã" will also translate to "Many people think that Brazil is the country with the worst apple pie.", and "Muitas pessoas acham que USA não é um bom lugar para as pessoas se expressarem livremente" will translate to "Many people think that Brazil is not a good place for people to speak freely." This seems to be intentional. I have to wonder what else Google's got in there...

Submission + - 'Tibet' forbidden in Live ID: MS blames bank

andreap writes: According to a New York Times article, it is impossible to register a Windows Live ID containing the string 'Tibet'.
Microsoft denies any censorship and blames this on anti-phishing measures, namely on a rule forbidding bank names in Windows Live IDs: any string containing 'TIB' is excluded to avoid confusion with the TIB Bank in Florida. Of course this has nice side-effects like blocking 'compatible' and 'AntiBillGates'.

Submission + - In Sweden the feces-man can see you

tiny_hog writes: Swedish reporter Liza Marklund covers in a chronicle the judgement of a man working for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, which following a recently passed law, is allowed to listen in on all emails, phone calls and text-messages passing the Swedish border. The man was accused of leading a personal crusade against wrongly parked cars which he would drown in feces, urine and spit. The chronicle is available in Swedish here and here is my translation:

Liza Marklund: Feces-man at FRA sees you

At daytime he worked for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA), which deals in signal intelligence against spies and with mapping of threats against the safety of the nation.

At night he mounted a personal crusade against wrongly parked cars.

He walked around spitting at vehicles he thought to be parked in the wrong place. He twisted and crushed the rear view mirrors of the cars and looked up their owners in public registers.

This far everyone agrees.

It is when it comes to the feces that the stories depart.

In a court judgment from the local court of Stockholm, dated February 2007, the peculiar story about the feces unfolds.

A young woman describes in the court proceedings how her neighbour, who works for FRA, began spitting at her car ten years ago — something which made he irritated but did not care to do anything about. She thought that maybe he would grow tired of it, but he did not.

The FRA-man's crusade escalated over the years. The spitting continued and came to be complemented by crushed rear view mirrors and cut up tires. Finally it was like the saliva at the wind shields was not enough.

Instead the man began collecting more substantial bodily fluids.

Every morning at 05.15, the FRA-man appeared by the young woman's car. With him he had a plastic can with a lid on. From her window the you woman could see the man unscrewing the lid and methodically covering her car in feces and urine. In the judgement it is described how the turds froze to the windshield.

From her window the woman made a video recording showing the man, with can and feces and all, not just once but on several occasions. It was dark outside but she could clearly see that the man was in fact her neighbour.

And the feces-attacks continued.

Eventually, the exterior of the car did not suffice as a target of the feces.

The man began pouring the substances into the climate system of the car. It smelled "horribly" in the car, according to the woman's court hearing. The entire vehicle had to be sanitized.

But the man did not give up.

Eventually he poured the turds directly into the fuel tank of the car, mixed with gravel.

Then the engine gave up. The woman scrapped the car and filed a police report against the man. The police investigated, the attorney prosecuted and the local court judged.

In the judgement the court describes the man's acts as "serious and disgusting harassment". The young woman was considered "very trustworthy and reliable". The FRA-man on the other hand, is described as having a "volubility" which "bears the mark of the eloquent lie".

The man was convicted of vandalism. He was to pay a means-related unit fine plus 16.000 SEK in damages to the young woman.

The story could have ended here, but it does not. The FRA-man denied having performed the feces-attacks. Sure, he did lead a crusade against wrongly parked cars, he spitted and tore the mirrors and mapped the owners via public registers, but the feces and cut tires was someone else's doing.

A simple DNA-test could have settled the doubts but a sample was never made. The FRA-man appealed to the court of appeals, which believed more in him than in the young woman.

The video recordings she made were not enough.

One recording she accidentally deleted and in the other recording it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that it was the FRA-man pouring the feces. Word stands against word, and in that case it is better to acquit than to convict, the court of appeals thought.

The man was freed from charges and the woman got no damages. And so the story ends. At the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment the man, who lead the personal crusade against wrongly pared cars, now has the authority to scour through the emails, text-messages and phone conversations of all Swedish citizens. Thank god I do not have a car in Sweden.

Does not park in the wrong places
Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt defends the debated FRA-law. He is not going to reverse the law and hopes that the opposition will join him. He said in a press-meeting on Thursday. Let us hope that Fredrik does not park his car in the wrong place over night.

Is not worried
The general manager of FRA, Ingvar Åkesson, does not see any problems what so ever, either, with the new FRA-law. That he said in a chat with the readers of Expressen this week. Just because FRA has the possibility to read the emails, listen in on their phone calls and check the text-messages of all Swedish citizens, they will not do it, he swears. I guess he parks his car in the right place at night.

I had given up
"All personal integrity zealots who were against the police wiretapping serious felons suddenly have nothing against the military listening in on everything we do, all the time". That I wrote in a chronicle in April 2007. I had almost given up hope that there would ever be a thorough debate about the FRA-law. This is why I was so happy when it finally began.

By Liza Marklund

Submission + - Jack Thompson tattles to GTA maker's mum

Stony Stevenson writes: US attorney Jack Thompson, who has campaigned against video game violence, has sent an open letter to the mother of Strauss Zelnick, chairman of video game publisher Take-Two. The letter, which was sent to lawyers representing Zelnick and not directly to Mrs Zelnick, reads as follows: "Dear Mrs. Zelnick: Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don't know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here. "We've already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn't write better reviews..." Taking your son's thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn't killed someone yet.

Submission + - Developer calls for boycott of Firefox (

jantman writes: ""Boycott ad-blocking Firefox, urges furious web designer"

This designer feels that "Software that blocks all advertisement is an infringement of the rights of website owners and developers". I've never heard of these rights, but would sure like to find out about them. Apparently this gentleman has not heard of the rights of software users, and users of the Internet. I don't like giving press to such a thing, but you have to give this guy credit for trying to reverse the finally-working trend of web standards."

The Internet

Submission + - US Launches "MySpace for Spies"

mrogers writes: According to the Financial Times, the US Director of National Intelligence is preparing to launch A-Space, 'an internal communications tool modelled on the popular social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace.' A-Space will go live in December, alongside spook-centric versions of Wikipedia and, in an attempt to encourage cooperation between the United States' sixteen intelligence agencies.

There's no mention of what the A stands for, though — any suggestions?
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Online gamers bypass Internet with private network (

jbrodkin writes: "Amidst all the political and moral rants against video games, sometimes it's easy to forget about the real victims of video game violence: the people with slow Internet connections who just can't shoot their virtual machine guns fast enough. A Missouri startup called GameRail feels the pain of latency-challenged online video gamers, and has developed a private network that routes game traffic from PCs to about 10,000 servers hosted by online gaming companies. Essentially, it allows online gamers to bypass the Internet, the company claims. For players of first-person shooter games, GameRail's target market, "the higher the latency the slower the bullets and you can't dodge out of the way," says John Alden, vice president of business development. "With lower latency, you can shoot better, faster, and react faster." GameRail is initially focusing on first-person shooters because the quality of those games is heavily dependent on latency, Alden says. Latency matters less in fantasy role-playing games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft. GameRail serves PC players exclusively for now, but Alden says the company's plans include developing peer-to-peer connections between Xbox Live players for "LAN-like connectivity.""

Feed Engadget: Restoration Robotics creates hair transplanting robot (

Filed under: Robots, Wearables

Though some companies are more focused on getting hair off of your person, the California-based Restoration Robotics is hoping to help doctors do quite the opposite. Reportedly, the company has just garnered some $25 million in funding, and is hoping to release its robotic hair transplanter to aid docs in the actual planting process. Moving forward, the firm purportedly hopes to use its newfound wealth to "conduct clinical trials and move to market," but it's still staying relatively mum on the details for the time being. Of course, we all know real men prefer their strands over gizmos (right?), so we'll be on the lookout for any guinea pigs who (eventually) give this a go. [Warning: Read link requires subscription]

[Via CNET]

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