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Submission + - The Streisand Effect: A Florida journalist's smear and censor campaign backfires ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: A tragic death, freedom of speech, libel, defamation, legal threats, unethical journalism, reddit's /r/bicycling, and The Streisand effect. A South Florida "journalist" is called out for running a smear story, doubles down on his position, publicly attacks commenters and reddit, and threatens legal action when a disturbing conflict of interest is exposed.

Submission + - Skills to Thrive in a Post-Collapse World 1

Ponca City writes: "Jeffrey Green writes in Counter Currents that some experts see a perfect storm emerging for a dramatic collapse of Western civilization claiming we’ve reached environmental, economic, and geopolitical tipping points and points out that some skills will be far more valuable than others if such a societal breakdown occurs. "Imagine fulfilling human necessity without consistent fuel or electricity, large-scale food production, or fully-stocked pharmacies and hospitals," writes Green. "The only form of wealth in a collapsed civilization is the knowledge and skills to produce something of human value." For example, skills involving food production will be the most valuable in a post-collapse society and learning to grow your own food is a must. Obviously, it is necessary to feed your family, but you will also be able to trade your abundance for other items. Other skills likely to help you sustain yourself in a hand-made local world include food preservation, medicine, animal husbandry, construction, water purification, and alternative energy. "Remember, knowledge of and skills to produce human necessities will be the only form of wealth creation in a hand-made world. Knowledge is something that no one can take from you.""

Submission + - University Networks Block Student Project (

An anonymous reader writes: A computer science student at University College London put together FitFinder as a bit of a joke — it's been described as a cross between Twitter and personal ads, and it rapidly became very popular. The university took exception to this and started by blocking the site from being accessed on campus. Not content with this, a few weeks later they fined the student £300 and had him take the site down completely. Currently, the site is still offline, although there is a petition with several thousand signatures requesting its return. In the mean time, a site called PhitFinder has appeared, claiming to have no link to the original.

Submission + - Texas likes open source, doesn't understand it 2

emerika writes: The state of Texas has issued a request for offer that is embarrassing to read. On the surface, they want to invest in open source textbooks; however, the RFO is littered with statements like: "A state-developed open-source textbook is the property of the state".

Particularly annoying, and an ongoing problem, is that they have written their own definition of open source: "As defined by statute, an open-source textbook is an electronic textbook that is available for downloading from the Internet at no charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the textbook."

Further evidence of their lack of understanding here: "The Commissioner of Education (COE) may provide a license to use a state-developed open source textbook to an entity not listed. In determining the cost of the license, the COE shall seek, to the extent feasible to recover costs of developing, revising, and distributing state-developed/state owned open-source textbooks."

Full text of the RFO can be found here:

Submission + - Google says ad blockers will save online ads (

azoblue writes: Google — the world's largest online ad broker — sees no reason to worry about the addition of ad-blocking extensions to its Chrome browser. Online advertisers will ensure their ads aren't too annoying, the company says, and netizens will ultimately realize that online advertising is a good thing.

Submission + - Bing Censoring all Chinese Language Querys ( 2

boggis writes: Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times journalist is calling for a boycott of Microsoft Bing (so don't click that link). They have censored search requests at the request of the Chinese Government (like certain others). The difference is that Bing have censored all searches done anywhere in simplified Chinese characters (The characters used in mainland China). This means that a Chinese speaker searching for Tiananmen anywhere in the world now gets the impression that it is just a lovely place to visit.

Submission + - Reach out to an unhappy customer, get fired. (

thatseattleguy writes: It started with a blog post complaining about the poor user interface design of American Airlines website (including a suggested redesign). The poster didn't expect a response, but received a nice and detailed email from a UI guy there, explaining why it was often tricky to good design at large companies, due to all of the different interests — but says that good stuff is coming, even if it may take some time.

So, how did AA respond when they learned of this? It fired the guy.

Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Rats of the Maze - need help bringing it back

michigan_rodent_lover writes: A friend worked at the University of Michigan Business School during the 1980's where the departmental secretaries wasted time playing a game called
Rats of the Maze. The school invested in Burroughs (now Unisys)
B20 computers which resembled IBM PC XT personal computers. I happened to observe this game being played by an addicted gamer (secretary) and at the time
it was pretty interesting. Today I wish I had grabbed one of these boxes. They have all been retired, only a very few remain in Australia or New Zealand.
It would be fun to resurrect this game on one of those B20 computers, but I'd even settle for this single person shooter game running on any modern computer.
Lacking the source code, the only way to recover this lost joy would be to reverse engineer it from the Wikipedia page mentioned earlier. Does anyone have any better ideas?
The Media

Submission + - Censorship SOS from Iceland (

jon jonson writes: Information from the collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, revealing billions in insider loans, has been leaked to Wikileaks and the Bank has been working day and night to censor the information contained in the document! Last night at 6:55pm GMT they served an injunction against the The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, 5 minutes before the 7pm news was due to goto air! The TV station just displayed the WikiLeaks URL instead. They've also injuncted Iceland's national radio, banning all discussion about the contents of the document and are actively trying to censor the rest of the Icelandic media along with Wikileaks! Please, send this file to as many media outlets as you can. I hope someone from the international press picks this up.

Submission + - "Schitzophrenia gene" linked to creativity

mcgrew writes: "New Scientist is reporting that creativity is linked to a gene that has also been linked to schitzophrenia. Szabolcs Kéri, a researcher at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, carried a study of creative people.

Kéri examined a gene involved in brain development called neuregulin 1, which previous studies have linked to a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia. Moreover, a single DNA letter mutation that affects how much of the neuregulin 1 protein is made in the brain has been linked to psychosis, poor memory and sensitivity to criticism. About 50 per cent of healthy Europeans have one copy of this mutation, while 15 per cent possess two copies

People with two copies of the neuregulin 1 mutation — about 12 per cent of the study participants — tended to score notably higher on these measures of creativity, compared with other volunteers with one or no copy of the mutation. Those with one copy were also judged to be more creative, on average, than volunteers without the mutation.

They hypothesize that people with this gene with high IQs are creative, while those with lower IQs are simply prone to the hallucinations that characterize the disease."


Submission + - Wikipedia debates Rorschach censorship ( 2

GigsVT writes: Editors on Wikipedia are engaged in an epic battle, over a few piece of paper smeared with ink. The 10 inkblot images that form the classic Rorschach test have fallen into the public domain, so including them on Wikipedia would seem to be a simple choice. However, some editors have cited the APA's statement that exposure of the images to the public is an unethical act, since prior exposure to the images could render them ineffective as a psychological test. Is the censorship of material appropriate, when the public exposure to that material may render that material useless?

Submission + - National Portrait Gallery testing copyfraud

UKNeedsAPirateParty writes: The National Portrait Gallery, London has sent one of the users of Wikimedia Commons, who had uploaded a bunch of NPG website images to the Commons website a legal threat, after Wikimedia refused to remove the images of many Public Domain portraits from their website. Since NPG apparently couldn't get their way with Wikimedia, they now seem to have decided to go after an individual. Wikimedia seems to assert that due to Bridgeman v. Corel, the copyright claim over these photographs is weak at best due to lack of originality. NPG on the other hand claims that this US court decision is not relevant in the UK and also claims their database rights. This practice of claiming (copy)rights on anything and everything build around works that themselves are in the Public Domain, has been described as copyfraud, but defended by others as required to maintain the financial health of museums.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Browsers want to be more than just... browsers?! (

StartCom writes: "They want to take over the way we compute and interact — exclusively. In some way that's nothing new, since Internet Explorer was essentially a part of the Windows operating system, completely integrated and intertwined.

As much as Chrome wants to be an operating system, it appears that Opera really wants to be a web server today. Opera Unite is a web server on the web browser which allows the hosting of web sites on the home computer.

Also Firefox has some higher ambitions. Some of its developers envision cubes (CubeZilla in Mozillianish) and squares for navigating web sites, resembling effects known from the Compiz compositing window manager.

...maybe we should save and archive a copy of those pieces of software like Safari which just wants to be a browser, antiquities from the year 2009?!"

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming