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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 26 declined, 9 accepted (35 total, 25.71% accepted)

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Submission + - Irish SOPA used to block Pirate Bay Access. ISPs roll over.

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: Ireland's own SOPA Act has finally struck home. Today, the Irish High Court ordered all ISPs to begin censoring the The Pirate Bay. After earlier attempts were struck down, this case was brought by EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal music under new copyright laws brought in last year. This follows the largest ISP Eircom already having voluntarily blocked the Pirate Bay after previous legal action. Despite some early indications that some ISPs would appeal the decision, it now appears that like Eircom, they have quietly given up. Pity; IT was one of the few industires Ireland was getting right.

Submission + - xkcd coins new word; Confuses Wikipedia and Web (

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Today's xkcd comic introduced an unusual word—malamanteau—by giving its supposed definintion on Wikipedia. The only trouble is that the word (as well as its supposed wiki page) did not in fact exist. Naturally, much ado ensued at the supposed wiki page, which was swiftly created in response to the comic. BBC America has more on how the comic and the confusion it caused have put the net in a tizzy. It turns out that a malamanteau is a portmanteau of portmanteau and Malapropism, but also a Malapropos of portmanteau. All this puts Wikipedia in the confusing position of not allowing a page for an undefined word whose meaning is defined via the wikipedia page for that word—and now I have to lie down for a moment."

Submission + - Google Launches Dictionary; Drops

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Google has expanded its remit once again with the quiet launch of Google Dictionary. Google word search definitions now redirect to Google Dictionary instead of to Google's long term thesaurus goto site,, which is expected to take a serious hit in traffic as a result. Dictionary pages are noticeably more plain and faster loading than their equivalents, and unusually feature web citations for the definitions of each word. This means that, unlike most dictionaries, Google considers ginormous a word. In related news just as has been silently phased out, Google's web search page now silently phases in. Google works in mysterious ways."

Submission + - Opera Closes China Loophole; Reinstates Censorship

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Coming hot on the heels of Microsoft's censoring of Chinese search results, web browser maker Opera has become the latest company to joyfully contribute to prosperous growth of the Great Firewall of China. For speed and convenience, the mobile phone based 'Opera Mini' browser receives formatted web page via Opera's own line of proxy servers. These unfiltered proxies gave Opera's Chinese users rare unfettered access to the wider web. However, this loophole has now been closed, with Chinese users now being directed to 'upgrade' to 'Opera Mini China', which closes this loophole, returning them to the buxom of party censorship, and Opera to the favour of the Chinese Government. Truly; 'To Get Rich Is Glorious'."

Submission + - Firebowls Ignite Blazing Copyright Furore ( 2

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Via Plagiarism Today, comes a fervid tale of conflict between the fiery passions of art and the fires of industry. Artist John T. Unger makes what he calls Firebowls, vast braziers of recycled steel each harbouring a mighty flame, used for art, gatherings and possibly macabre rituals. But Unger was left smoldering with rage upon discovering that a bright spark of a manufacturer, Rick Wittrig, was making firebowls of his own, often copying Unger's (admittedly simple) designs verbatim. Hot with rage, Unger sent a Cease & Desist, but, not to be snuffed out Wittrig, sought a declaratory judgment that such "utilitarian" objects are not copyrightable. Feeling the heat, Unger issued a plea for aid on his website, which lead to a firestorm of internet sourced funds. So far, Unger has raised almost $10,000 to fuel his cause. The Consumerist has more on this conflagration, but just who is in the right here? The smoke from this case may yet be seen from far and wide."

Submission + - Irish ISP Blocks Pirate Bay

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Following legal pressure from the entertainment industry Ireland's largest ISP, Eircom, have gone ahead with their intended block of The Pirate Bay starting today, September 1st 2009. Attempts to access The Pirate Bay website on Eircom's network results in redirection to a notice containing an apologia for the block and how Eircom "legitimate rights of the owners of copyrighted material"(Since I don't know exactly how this can been seen outside Eircom's network I've made mirror of the notice here). The block isn't a simple DNS redirect. Access to The Pirate Bay seems to be cut off on a fundamental level, with all TCP connections to their servers is blocked by a server at Eircom are the largest ISP in Ireland, but is also the only one in the country to institute such a blockade, with others such as UPC refusing to police the internet. I'd like to add The Pirate Bay's response to this, but since I'm behind the block, I'm unable to access the site and get their opinion."

Submission + - Age Ratings For Books

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "The BBC is reporting that books publishers are to introduce age ratings for children's books. The ratings system was proposed by The Publisher's Association, which asserts that 86% of adults surveyed welcomed age guidance. However book authors, including J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, are decidedly not pleased with the new scheme, claiming that older children, and adults, will be deterred by a booked labelled for younger readers. The Society of Authors has issued a stern rebuke against the publishers, and some author's have already signed the standard online petition against the scheme. While not wanting to sound too hyperbolic, I do feel that this scheme spells the end of western civilisation as we know it; They're censoring books now."

Submission + - Call To Halt Donations To Stop Wikipedia Deletions 4

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Howard Tayler, the webcomic artist of Schlock Mercenary fame, is calling on people not to donate money during the latest Wikimedia Foundation fund-raiser, in protest at the "notability purges" taking place throughout Wikipedia, where articles are being removed en-masse by what many see as overzealous admins. The webcomic community in particular has long felt slighted by the application of Wikipedia's contentious Notability policy. Wikinews reporters have recently begun investigating this issue, but are the admins listening? Is Deletionism becoming a dominant ethos on Wikipedia? Are the right people holding the reigns?"

Submission + - Numerically Approximating The Wave Equation

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "I'm an applied mathematician who has recently needed to obtain good numerical approximations to the classic second order wave equation, preferably in three space dimensions. A lot of googling has not revealed much on what I had assumed would be a well studied problem. Most of the standard numerical methods, finite difference/finite element methods, don't seem to work very well in the case of variable wave speed at different points in the domain, which is exactly the case that I need. Are there any slashdotters working on numerically solving wave equation problems? What numerical methods do you use, and which programs do you find best suited to the task? How do you deal with stability issues, boundary/initial values and other pitfalls? Are there different methods for electromagnetic wave problems? Finally, when the numbers have all been crunched, how do you visualize your hard earned data?"

Submission + - Search Engine Spamming By Academic Publishers (

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Pierre Far at BlogSci reports on how Academic Publishers are engaging search engine spamming, specifically cloaking. Search engines bots crawling the sites of Springer and Reed Elsevier are shown the entire academic articles, and excerpts are displayed to users. But when users click on the suggested link, they are shown a different page demanding payment for the opportunity to read the same article(~$40 per paper). Academics are beginning to gripe about this, and the theoretical physics community is debating the issue the N-Category Cafe Blog, where not a few academics are expressing their ire at the practice. With services like Live Search Academic and Google Scholar dependant on their cooperation, it seems unlikely that Academic Publishers will suffer the fate of BMW."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Physicists Propose Tarot Cards To Auger LHC

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "Via Peter Woit's Blog Not Even Wrong, comes one of the most bizarre papers ever seen on the e-Print archive[Wiki-link]. Two mainstream physicists propose that the enormous energies and exotic Higgs particles that will be created at the Large Hadron Collider could create effects that will(will have been?) propagate backwards through time, enabling us to predict proper parameters for the LHC beforehand. They propose choosing from a shuffled deck of cards with various luminosity or beam energy parameters written on them, as well as a few cards with 'close LHC', just in case some terrible accident should occur. Tommaso Dorigo gives a detailed summary of the paper at his blog. Right now, I'm so glad I didn't choose theoretical physics as a career."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Custom Key Labels

ObsessiveMathsFreak writes: "I used to use Latex for all my mathematical typesetting needs, but recently I've discovered Lyx and am using it with Bo Peng's great customised key bindings file. Mathematics typesetting has finally become easy and intuitive for me. Taking some inspiration from the APL Keyboard, what I'd really like to do now is come up with some custom key labels to go with the bindings file, so that mathematical symbols have the place on my keyboard they so richly deserve. Have many Slashdotters experimented with custom key labels? What are the options; low tech, high tech, homebrew, commercial? What are the processes involved, and the potential pitfalls? Are there any software programs to aid this process? (Oh, and I already know about the Optimus Keyboard)."

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"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell