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Dead Pigs Used To Investigate Ocean's "Dead Zones" 106

timothy writes "As places to study what happens to corpses, the Atlantic Ocean is both much larger and much more specialized than the famous 'body farm' in Knoxville, TN. But for all kinds of good reasons, sending human bodies into Davy Jones' locker just to see where they float and how they bloat is unpopular. Pigs don't pay taxes, and more importantly, they don't vote. So Canadian scientists have taken to using them as human-body proxies, to study what happens when creatures of similar size and hairlessness (aka, us) end up 86ed and in the drink."

Appeals Court Knocks Out "Innocent Infringement" 232

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A 3-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has ruled that a Texas teenager was not entitled to invoke the innocent infringement defense in an RIAA file-sharing case where she had admittedly made unauthorized downloads of all of the 16 song files in question, and had not disputed that she had 'access' to the CD versions of the songs which bore copyright notices. The 11-page decision (PDF) handed down in Maverick Recording v. Harper seems to equate 'access' with the mere fact that CDs on sale in stores had copyright notices, and that she was free to go to such stores. In my opinion, however, that is not the type of access contemplated in the statute, as the reference to 'access' in the statute was intended to obviate the 'innocence' defense where the copy reproduced bore a copyright notice. The court also held that the 'making available' issue was irrelevant to the appeal, and that the constitutional argument as to excessiveness of damages had not been preserved for appeal."

The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games 80

A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."

On the Efficacy of Flu Vaccine 430

The Atlantic is running a major article questioning the received wisdom about flu vaccines and antivirals, for both seasonal flu and H1-N1. "When Lisa Jackson, a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research Center, in Seattle, began wondering aloud to colleagues if maybe something was amiss with the estimate of 50 percent mortality reduction for people who get flu vaccine, the response she got sounded more like doctrine than science. 'People told me, "No good can come of [asking] this,"' she says... Nonetheless, in 2004, Jackson and three colleagues set out to determine whether the mortality difference between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated might be caused by a phenomenon known as the 'healthy user effect.' Jackson's findings showed that outside of flu season, the baseline risk of death among people who did not get vaccinated was approximately 60 percent higher than among those who did, lending support to the hypothesis that on average, healthy people chose to get the vaccine, while the 'frail elderly' didn't or couldn't. In fact, the healthy-user effect explained the entire benefit that other researchers were attributing to flu vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all." Read below for more excerpts from the article.
Data Storage

Submission + - Garbage Collection Algorithms For SSDs Coming (

MojoKid writes: "A common concern with the current crop of Solid State Drives is the performance penalty associated with block-rewriting. Flash memory is comprised of cells that usually contain 4KB pages that are arranged in blocks of 512KB. When a cell is unused, data can be written to it relatively quickly. But if a cell already contains some data, even if it fills only a single page in the block--the entire block must be re-written. That means, whatever data is already present in the block must be read, then it must be combined or replaced and the entire block is then re-written. This process takes much longer than simply writing data straight to an empty block. This isn't a concern on fresh, new solid state drives, but over time, as files are written, moved, deleted, or replaced, many blocks are a left holding what is essentially orphaned or garbage data and their long-term performance degrades because of it. To mitigate this problem, virtually all SSD manufacturers have incorporated, or soon will incorporate, garbage collection schemes into their SSD firmware that actively seek out and remove the garbage data. OCZ in combination with Indilinx, for example, are poised to release new firmware for OCZ's entire line-up of Vertex Series SSDs that performs active garbage collection while the drives are idle, to restore performance to like-new condition, even on a severely "dirtied" drive."
The Almighty Buck

eBay Describes the Scale of Its Counterfeit Goods Problem 124

Ian Lamont writes "As the Tiffany vs. eBay lawsuit winds its way through a federal appeals court, eBay has trotted out some numbers that show how many sellers attempt to sell fake goods on the auction site. Millions of auctions were delisted last year, and tens of thousands of accounts were suspended after reports were made to eBay's Verified Rights Owner program, which lets trademark owners notify eBay of fake goods being sold on the site. eBay says 100% of reported listings were removed from the site last year, most within 12 hours, and the company uses sellers' background information to make sure that they don't create new accounts to sell delisted items. Tiffany brought the suit against eBay in 2004, alleging that eBay was turning a blind eye to counterfeit luxury goods and demanding that eBay police its listings for bogus goods. Tiffany lost the case last July and will shortly present its arguments to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. A similar case in France cost eBay $61 million."

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