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The Internet

Submission + - Get arrested for using free wifi at the library

edmicman writes: "Tech news outlets are reporting a story from Alaska where a man's laptop was confiscated after he was caught playing online games using the library's free WiFi connection:

Brian Tanner was sitting in his Acura Integra recently outside the Palmer Library playing online games when a Palmer police pulled up behind him. The officer asked him what he was doing. Tanner, 21, was using the library's wireless Internet connection. He was told that his activity constituted theft of services and was told to leave. The next day, Sunday, police spotted him there again.

Submission + - Sony PSP Firmware Battle vs Open Source Developers

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC is running an article entitled Three hacker teams unlock the PSP. The article summarizes the efforts of Open Source developers (including quick descriptions of the renowned Dark_Alex and Fanjita) to unlock the DRM'd Sony handheld. Thanks to their efforts, the Sony PSP homebrew community has become an excellent example of how much value can be added to a hardware product if developers are given the freedom to exercise their creativity. Some examples of interesting homebrew projects include PSPRadio: an "Online Streaming Music Client" supporting shoutcast stations, PSPoste: an SMTP/POP3 email client supporting SSL/TLS, Lua Player: allows users to write applications in the Lua scripting language. Many other homebrew examples can be found at PSP Hacks.

Submission + - BLAST Telescope about to Launch from Antarctica

mtruch writes: "BLAST, the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope is about to be launched from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. BLAST is a 2700 kg telescope with a 2 meter primary mirror that hangs from a 1.1 million cubic metre balloon floating at an altitude of 38 km that will study the star formation history of the universe. It will float west at nearly constant latitude for about 14 days until it is (hopefully) located over McMurdo again and will be terminated and recovered. Real time position and flight track is available from the CSBF. Watch the launch live via a crappy webcam link. Three of the graduate students working on the project have photo blogs of much of the prep period, and specifically Don's blog should have launch photos soon (bandwidth to/from McMurdo is at a premium).

BLAST made it on slashdot in the past, when it launched from Sweden in June 2005, and indirectly with an interview with Prof. Barth Netterfield and George Staikos. Yes, the flight computers still run Slack, and yes, we still use kst for data viewing and analysis. There is Discovery Science show about BLAST and high-altitude balloons, and a future documentary film being made about BLAST."

Submission + - Report Says Patents Prevent New Drugs

An anonymous reader writes: Current orthodoxy claims patents encourage innovation, by allowing developers to enjoy profitable monopolies on their inventions which in turn inspire them to create new inventions. A new report by the non-partisan General Accounting Office suggests that this orthodoxy is wrong — at least when drug companies are involved. According to the report, existing patent law allows drug companies to patent, and make substantial profits off of, "new" drugs which differ little from existing medicines. Given high profit margins on very minor innovations, the report argues that drug companies have little incentive to produce innovative new drugs. In other words, current patent law actually discourages drug companies from producing new medicines.

Responding to the report, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released a strongly worded statement suggesting that a legislative response will be forthcoming. "The findings in this new GAO report," said Senator Durbin, "raise serious questions about the pharmaceutical industry claims that there is a connection between new drug development and the soaring price of drugs already on the market. Most troubling is the notion that pharmaceutical industry profits are coming at the expense of consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer new drugs."

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