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Censorship

North Korea's Own OS, Red Star 316

klaasb writes "North Korea's self-developed computer operating system, named 'Red Star,' was brought to light for the first time by a Russian satellite broadcaster yesterday. North Korea's top IT experts began developing the Red Star in 2006, but its composition and operation mechanisms were unknown until the internet version of the Russia Today TV program featured the system, citing the blog of a Russian student who goes to the Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang."
Movies

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Music 261

mbone writes "Ever wonder how Jimi Hendrix would cover Lady Gaga? Whether you do or not [I'm guessing not], you may be about to find out. Writing for Wired, Eliot Van Buskirk describes North Carolina's Zenph Sound Innovations, which takes existing recordings of musicians (deceased, for now) and models their 'musical personalities' to create new recordings, apparently to critical acclaim (PDF). The company has raised $10.7 million in funding to pursue their business plan, and hopes to branch out into, among other things, software that would let musicians jam with virtual versions of famous musicians. This work unites music with the very similar trend going on in the movies — Tron 2.0, for example, will clone the young Jeff Bridges. If this goes on, will the major labels and studios actually need musicians and actors? In the future, it could be harder to make money playing guitar with all of the competition from dead or retired artists."
Earth

Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."

Submission + - SPAM: Better science to quell climate 'skeptics' 1

designperfection9 writes: "World weather agencies have agreed to band together to improve climate data, officials said on Wednesday, as scientists work to repair recent damage done to the credibility of it's discipline.

  British scientists proposed climate scientist around the world collect better data, measuring land surface temperatures several times a day and making the data available to the public.The move comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged environment ministers to reject efforts by skeptics to derail a global climate

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