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Government

Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest? 219

onproton writes The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn't the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated behind closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to "public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done." Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity.
Music

U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music' 358

Squiff writes U2 and Apple are apparently collaborating on a new, "interactive format for music," due to launch in "about 18 months." (A direct interview is available at Time, but paywalled.) Bono said the new tech "can't be pirated" and will re-imagine the role of album artwork. Marco Arment has some suitably skeptical commentary: "Full albums are as interesting to most people today as magazines. Single songs and single articles killed their respective larger containers. ... This alleged new format will cost a fortune to produce: people have to take the photos, design the interactions, build the animations, and make the deals with Apple. Bono’s talking point about helping smaller bands is ridiculous ... There's nothing Apple or Bono can do to make people care enough about glorified liner notes. People care about music and convenience, period. As for “music that can’t be pirated”, I ask again, what decade is this? That ship has not only sailed long ago, but has circled the world hundreds of times, sunk, been dragged up, turned into a tourist attraction, went out of business, and been gutted and retrofitted as a more profitable oil tanker."
Social Networks

Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join 178

MojoKid writes Facebook has become too crowded and too mundane. With around 1.3 billion Facebook users, it's understandable to be overwhelmed by everything and want to get away from it all. However, unlike Facebook which is looking to connect everyone to the internet, there is a new site called Netropolitan that focuses more on exclusivity and privacy. The site was founded by composer and former conductor of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra James Touchi-Peters who wanted to provide a social media site for affluent and accomplished individuals. People wishing to join need only pay a mere $9,000 to join. Of that amount, $6,000 is the initiation fee and the remaining $3,000 is for the annual membership fee which users will continue to pay. So what does the initiation and annual fee get you? For starters, Netropolitan will offer an ad-free experience and will not promote any kind of paid promotions to its members. However, it will allow the creation of groups by businesses in which members can advertise to each other under certain guidelines.
Medicine

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia 409

acidradio (659704) writes American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the U.S. Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first 'purposeful' transport of an Ebola victim to the U.S. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea? theodp (442580) writes with related news In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel. "Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact with a person who has symptoms of Ebola," the CDC explains. "Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person with Ebola or having a high likelihood of direct contact with blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Examples of close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (3 feet), physical examination, and any other direct physical contact between people. Close contact does not include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a room from a person."
The Media

DreamWorks Animation CEO: Movie Downloads Will Move To Pay-By-Screen-Size 347

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks Animation, speaking at the Milken Global Conference in California, opined that the future pricing model for movie downloads will revolve around screen size. In his view, larger screens will incur larger download prices. As he says, 'It will reinvent the enterprise of movies.' Unclear is how physical dimensions, rather than just resolution matrix, will be determined. Will we soon be saying 'hello' to screen spoofing?" Can you fake the physical dimensions reported in the EDID block when the connection is using HDCP? Aside from the implication that this would mean more DRM (and seems pretty unworkable, but with the rise of locked bootloaders on even x86 hardware...), the prices he predicts seem alright: "A movie screen will be $15. A 75-inch TV will be $4. A smartphone will be $1.99."
Technology

Algorithm Reveals Objects Hidden Behind Other Things In Camera Phone Images 85

KentuckyFC writes "Imaging is undergoing a quiet revolution at the moment thanks to various new techniques for extracting data from images. Now physicists have worked out how to create an image of an object hidden behind a translucent material using little more than an ordinary smartphone and some clever data processing. The team placed objects behind materials that scatter light such as onion skin, frosted glass and chicken breast tissue. They photographed them using a Nokia Lumina 1020 smartphone, with a 41 megapixel sensor. To the naked eye, the resulting images look like random speckle. But by treating the data from each pixel separately and looking for correlations between pixels, the team was able to produce images of the hidden objects. They even photographed light scattered off a white wall and recovered an image of the reflected scene--a technique that effectively looks round corners. The new technique has applications in areas such as surveillance and medical imaging."
Businesses

MakerBot Merging With Stratasys 65

MakerBot Industries, creators of the popular Thing-O-Matic and Replicator line of 3-D printers, is being acquired by Stratasys, a company that's been working on 3-D printing and production systems since 1989. '[Stratasys] facilitates the printing of prototypes, concepts, components, parts and more on an industrial scale and for commercial applications. ... Stratasys has demonstrated it’s going to be aggressive about owning the 3D printing space, and the MakerBot buy is the consumer-focused piece in that puzzle. For MakerBot, it gives the startup access to Stratasys’ wealth of industry experience.' According to the official news release, 'MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys, maintaining its own identity, products and go-to-market strategy.' MakerBot has sold 11,000 of its Replicator 2 devices in the past 9 months, accounting for half of all its 3-D printer sales since 2009.
Privacy

HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History 472

chiguy writes with this snippet From NBC News: "The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled...[a database]...containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults...[Equifax] says [it] is adding 12 million records annually.' This salary information is for sale: "Its database is so detailed that it contains week-by-week paystub information dating back years for many individuals, as well as ... health care provider, whether someone has dental insurance and if they've ever filed an unemployment claim.""
DRM

Feedback On Simcity Gets User Banned From EA Forums 386

An anonymous reader writes "EA's latest SimCity game requires users to log on online even for single player. After being unable to log on for three hours, one of its users chimed in with his very polite $0.02 opinion, only to get himself banned by EA admins. Another great victory for DRM." Update: 01/29 18:00 GMT by S : The player's ban has been lifted, and it seems to have happened for an unrelated issue anyway.
Biotech

Hidden Viral Gene Discovered In GMO Crops 391

Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Researchers with the European Food Safety Authority discovered variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S in the most widely harvested varieties of genetically-modified crops, including Monsanto's RoundupReady Soy and Maze. According to the researchers, Podevin and du Jardin, the particular 'Gene VI' is responsible for a number of possible consequences that could affect human health, including inhibition of RNA silencing and production of proteins with known toxicity. The EFSA is endorsing 'retrospective risk assessment' of CaMV promoter and its Gene VI sequences — in an attempt to give it a clean bill of health. It is unknown if the presence of the hidden viral genes were the result of laboratory contamination or a possible recombinant product of the resultant organism. There are serious implications for the production of GMO for foodstuffs, given either possibility."
Networking

Cisco Pushing 'Cloud Connect' Router Firmware, Allows Web History Tracking 351

Myrv writes "Reports have started popping up that Cisco is pushing out and automatically (without permission) installing their new Cloud Connect firmware on consumer routers. The new firmware removes the user's ability to login and administer the router locally. You now must configure the router using Cisco's Cloud connect service. If that wasn't bad enough, the fine print for this new service allows Cisco to track your complete internet history. Currently, it appears the only way to disable the Cloud Connect service is to unplug your router from the internet."
The Internet

ICANN's Brand-Named Internet Suffix Application Deadline Looms 197

AIFEX writes with a snippet from the BBC: "'Organisations wishing to buy web addresses ending in their brand names have until the end of Thursday to submit applications. For example, drinks giant Pepsi can apply for .pepsi, .gatorade or .tropicana as an alternative to existing suffixes such as .org or .com.'" Asks AIFEX: "Does anyone else think this is absolutely ridiculous and defeats the logical hierarchy of current URLs?"
Earth

IBM Seeks Patent On Retailer-Rigged Driving Routes 150

theodp writes "On IBM's Smarter Planet, you may drive further than need be to get to your destination. Big Blue's pending patent for Determining Travel Routes by Using Fee-Based Location Preferences calls for the likes of Walmart, Starbucks, and Best Buy pay a fee in return for having your route calculation service de-optimize driving instructions to make you do a drive-by of their stores, and an additional fee if GPS tracking of your car indicates you actually took the suboptimal route. The same IBM inventors also have a patent pending for Environmental Stewardship Based on Driving Behavior, which calls for yet another fee to be assessed when a retailer-friendly-but-suboptimal route causes your vehicle to enter a congested area and produce more pollution."
Government

Malware Is a Disease; Let's Treat It Like One 160

jfruhlinger writes "The most common metaphor we have for computer malware — 'virus' — emphasizes that in many ways malicious computer code mimics biological pathogens. And yet, while the U.S. government has rapid response plans in place for an outbreak of a new disease, we're content to let the private sector react to hugely damaging computer infections. Tom Henderson thinks we need the cybersecurity equivalent of the CDC."

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