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Amazon Suddenly Stops Selling Student Loans ( 81

"The promotion has ended," a bank spokesperson said. After more than a year of preparation, Amazon's partnership with Wells Fargo to sell student loans barely lasted six weeks. An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: It's another black eye for Wells Fargo's student loan business, which just last week agreed to pay $3.6 million to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to settle claims that it misled borrowers, illegally charged certain fees, and processed payments in a way designed to maximize late fees. Wells Fargo neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
The article cites a consumer advocate who says both Amazon and Wells Fargo were hiding the high costs of the loans, as well as their inflexible terms for repayment, in a "cynical attempt to dupe current students." The Washington Post noted that interest rates for community colleges and for-profit institutions "can climb to nearly 14%."

Where Has All the Xenon Gone? 225

LucidBeast writes "Xenon, the second heaviest of the noble gasses, is only found in trace amounts in the atmosphere. Atmosphere contains less xenon than other lighter noble gasses. Missing xenon has perplexed scientists and it has been speculated that it is hiding in the Earth's mantle. Now, a group at the University of Bayreuth in Germany thinks it might have found the answer. It turns out that xenon does not dissolve easily into magnesium silicate perovskite, and thus it cannot hide there. Because it had no place to hide, it is now gone forever."

In UK, HTC Defeats Apple's "Obvious" Slide Unlock Patent 165

An anonymous reader writes "In a move that is likely to have wide-ranging implications for patent rulings around the world, a High Court Judge in the UK has ruled that HTC did not infringe on a number if Apple's patents. 'He said Apple's slide-to-unlock feature was an "obvious" development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.' Two other patents that Apple had claimed were infringed were ruled invalid, while a third was found not to apply to HTC. A statement from the Taiwanese firm said: 'HTC is pleased with the ruling, which provides further confirmation that Apple's claims against HTC are without merit. We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favour competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.' Apple declined to comment on the specifics of the case. Instead it re-issued an earlier statement, saying: 'We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.'" This after a similar victory for HTC in a different venue, when Apple's request for an injunction on some HTC devices was rejected in the U.S.

The Vending Machines of the Future 216

JoshuaInNippon writes "Not sure what you're thirsty for? New vending machines in Shinagawa Station in Tokyo will tell you based on your age and gender. The machines, controlled by a centralized server, come equipped with sensors that recognize basic costumer information, and then provide recommendations alongside the list of available drinks. A massive 47-inch touch panel display is used in place of the typical button system, allowing for an automatic digital advertising mode when no people are directly in front of the machine." A Massachusetts-based vending machine company has even come up with a line of biometric snack machines that tie your thumbprint to a credit card.

Dell Defect Turning 2.2GHz CPU Into 100MHz CPU? 314

jtavares2 writes "In what is being dubbed Throttlegate, scores of users on many message boards have been complaining about nexplicably aggressive throttling policies on their Dell Latitude E6500 and E6400 laptops which cause their CPUs to be throttled to less than 5% of their theoretical maximums even while at room temperatures. In many cases, the issue can be triggered just by playing a video or performing some other trivial, but CPU intensive, task. After being banned [PDF] from the Dell Forums for revealing 'non-public information,' one user went so far as to write and publish a 59-page report [PDF] explaining and diagnosing the throttling problem in incredible detail. Dell seems to be silent on the issue, but many users are hoping for a formal recall."
The Internet

Geocities Shutting Down Today 396

Paolo DF writes "Geocities is closing today. Its advent in 1995 was a sign of the rising 'Internet for everyone' era, when connection speeds were 1,000x or 2,000x slower than is common today. You may love it or hate it, but millions of people had their first contact with a Web presence right here. I know that Geocities is something that most Slashdotters will see as a n00b thing — the Internet was fine before Geocities — but nevertheless I think that some credit is due. Heck, there's even a modified xkcd homepage to mark the occasion." Reader commodore64_love notes a few more tributes around the Web. Last spring we discussed Yahoo's announcment that Geocities would be going away.

FDA Could Delay Adult Stem Cell Breakthroughs 261

destinyland writes "A Colorado medical advocate says, 'The FDA contends that if one cultures stem cells at all...then it's a prescription drug,' in arguing that revolutionary new treatments could be delayed by 20 years — even using cells extracted from your own body. According to the FDA, even therapies that simply re-inject your body's adult stem cells could be prohibited without five years of clinical trials and millions of dollars of research. How useful are cultured stem cells? 'In animal models, they routinely cure diabetes.'"

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