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Earth

Volunteer Towns Sought For Nuclear Waste 279

Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Wingfield writes in Bloomberg that the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future has sent a draft report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu recommending that US communities should be encouraged to vie for becoming a federal nuclear-waste site as a way to end a decades-long dilemma over disposing of spent radioactive fuel and says this 'consent-based' approach will help cut costs and end delays caused when the federal government picks a site over the objections of local residents, 'This means encouraging communities to volunteer (PDF) to be considered to host a new nuclear-waste management facility,' says the commission. Chu named the panelists after Obama canceled plans to build a permanent repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain after the Yucca site was opposed by politicians from the state. 'The United States has traveled nearly 25 years down the current path only to come to a point where continuing to rely on the same approach seems destined to bring further controversy, litigation, and protracted delay,' says the report. The Blue Ribbon Commission cited as a 'success' the US Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which has accepted and disposed of some defense-related nuclear waste for more than a decade demonstrating that that 'nuclear wastes can be transported safely over long distances and placed securely in a deep, mined repository.' With the right incentives, 'there will be a great deal of support' for a waste site near the New Mexico facility, says former Senator Pete Domenici."
Intel

Intel Insider DRM Risks Monopoly Investigations 217

Blacklaw writes "Intel's Sandy Bridge line of processors is impressing the tech community with its power, but a sneaky little feature designed to appease Hollywood has some concerned about Intel's intentions: Intel Insider. If a major video streaming service, such as Lovefilm or the US-based Hulu, were to implement Intel Insider technology on their movie streams — as a way of convincing Hollywood to release films sooner and in high definition without worrying about piracy — it would mean that only those who use Intel's very latest Sandy Bridge CPUs would be able to stream movies. Not only would those using older Intel chips that don't support the technology be cut off from the service, but those on systems featuring CPUs from rival manufacturers such as AMD and low-power specialist VIA would also be excluded." In a blog post about this new feature, Intel denies that it is DRM.
Media

Designer Accused of Copying His Own Work By Stock Art Website 380

the_harlequin writes "A successful designer, who has a showcase of his own work available online, has had a stock image site accuse him of copyright infringement over his own illustrations, citing damages of $18,000. The story doesn't end there; the stock photo site hired lawyers, who have contacted the original designer's clients. The lawyers told them the designer is being investigated for copyright infringement and their logos might be copied, thus damaging his reputation. 'My theory is that someone copied my artwork, separated them from any typography and then posted them for sale on the stock site. Someone working for the site either saw my [LogoPond] showcase or was alerted to the similarities. They then prepared the bill and sent it to me. The good thing is that the bill gives me a record of every single image they took from me. That helps me gather dates, sketches, emails, etc. to help me prove my case. The bad thing is that despite my explanations and proof, they will not let this go.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Looking Back At Far Cry 2 138

Gamasutra has an interview with Ubisoft's Patrick Redding about the development of Far Cry 2. He explains his team's reasoning behind some of the decisions they made while trying to innovate in the very well-established first-person shooter genre. Ubisoft is also trying to crowdsource a guide for the game. "We don't want to be necessarily spoon-feed everything to people, because that gets insulting. It's also tiresome if you're constantly interrupting them to remind them things about that system. I like to learn things through trial and error, and I know a lot of players are like that. But accessibility isn't just about it being easy to pick up the controls. It's also making sure that you're supporting a certain kind of readability, giving the player a certain kind of feedback. Maybe the way to put it is that it might be less a function of the kind of low-level mechanics of the game at the control level, and more about how you're using the output of the game as good feedback for the player, so they at least are clear on the causal link between what they're doing and what's happening."
Google

Google Wants You To Be Its Unpaid Muse 227

theodp writes "So where do you turn to for great ideas when tough times force you to abort your engineers' brainchildren? If you're Google, reports Nicholas Carlson, you simply outsource brainstorming to your users. Google's launched a new Google Product Ideas blog as well as a Product Ideas for Google Mobile site where users can submit feature and product ideas and vote on others. So what's in it for you if you come up with Google's next billion-dollar-idea? 'If you post an idea or suggestion and we put it into action, we may give you a shout out on our Product Ideas blog,' explains Google, 'but we won't be compensating users for their ideas.' Lucky thing don't-be-evil Googlers don't have to live up to the IEEE Code of Ethics, or they might have to credit properly the contributions of others." So what's wrong with a shout out among consenting adults?
Games

Review: Spore 605

The hype leading up to Spore was excessive. But then, so is the scope of the game; following the growth of a species from the cellular level to galactic domination was an ambitious goal, to say the least. Bringing evolution into the realm of entertainment was something Will Wright hoped and gambled he could do after the success of the Sim franchise. But rather than evolution, Spore became more about creation — creation that allows a single-player game to include the community, as well. It ties the various parts of the game together to make Spore very entertaining as a whole. Read on for my thoughts.
Portables

Dell Begins Selling Inspiron Mini 9 320

mocoloco writes "A week after the rumored date, Dell has begun selling their entry into the netbook/subnotebook/UMPC market, the Inspiron Mini 9. The base system for $349 includes Ubuntu 8.04 "with custom Dell interface", 512MB RAM, and a 4GB SSD. There are options with XP, one that includes an 8GB drive and a $40 instant savings, another with a 16GB drive and 1GB RAM that has a $55 instant savings. Curiously the Ubuntu systems are a pre-order at this point, to be shipped within 15 days. Also, no Red option yet."
Media (Apple)

Apple Sued For Turning Workers Into Slaves 1153

SwiftyNifty writes "Apple employees are putting together a class action lawsuit for not receiving overtime pay. A Lawsuit filed Monday in California seeks class action status alleging that Apple denied technical staffers required overtime pay and meal compensation in violation of state law. Filed in the US District Court for Southern California, the complaint claims that many Apple employees are routinely subjected to working conditions resembling indentured servitude, or 'modern day slaves,' for lack of better words."
Spam

Faux-CNN Spam Blitz Delivers Malicious Flash 213

CWmike writes "More than a thousand hacked Web sites are serving up fake Flash Player software to users duped into clicking on links in mail that's part of a massive spam attack masquerading as CNN.com news notifications, security researchers said today. The bogus messages, which claim to be from the CNN.com news Web site, include links to what are supposedly the day's Top 10 news stories and Top 10 news video clips from the cable network. Clicking on any of those links, however, brings up a dialog that says an incorrect version of Flash Player has been detected and that tells users they needed to update to a fake newer edition, which delivers a Trojan horse — identified by multiple names, including Cbeplay.a — that 'phones home' to a malicious server to grab and install additional malware."
Editorial

Gates Issues Call For "Creative Capitalism" 464

theodp writes "Bill Gates makes his case for Creative Capitalism in TIME, citing projects like a Text-Free UI for illiterate computing, the use of Multimouse technology to allow fifty kids to share one computer display, cell phone billing by the second, and Bono's RED campaign as examples of the type of corporate creativity that can make the world a better place for the billion or so people scraping by on less than a dollar a day. Michael Kinsley, a former Microsoft employee whose wife still advises the Gates Foundation, says it's hard to object to Gates' goals, but notes that creative capitalism does have its share of skeptics, and points out that there was not a whole lot of energy devoted to lifting up the world's poor during Bill's three decades at Microsoft."
Security

Crooks Nab Citibank ATM Codes, Steal Millions 282

An anonymous reader writes "Citibank is reissuing ATM cards following a December server breach in which hackers stole customer PIN codes, Wired reports. In recent months the FBI has arrested 10 people in the New York area who were allegedly involved in using the codes to steal over $2 million from Citibank checking and savings accounts, including two Ukrainian immigrants who were each caught with $800,000 in cash stashed in boxes and shopping bags in their homes. Some of the suspects are cooperating, telling the feds that they've been working for a Russian hacker. They use magstripe writers to encode the stolen account numbers onto blank cards, then hit ATMs in New York, and transfer 70% of the loot back to Russia."
Google

Google Assists In Arrest Of Indian Man 609

An anonymous reader writes "After a Google user posted a profane picture of the Hindu saint Shivaji, Indian authorities contacted Google to ask for his IP address. Google complied. He was arrested and is reported to have been beaten by a lathi and asked to use the same bowl to eat and to use in the toilet. Not surprisingly, Google is a keen to play this down as Yahoo is being hauled over the coals by US Congress for handing over IP addresses and emails to the Chinese Government which resulted in a Chinese democracy activist being jailed." Readers are noting that these are 2 unrelated cases — the latter is several months old.
Google

Google's Shareholders Vote Against Human Rights 376

yo_cruyff notes a Computerworld article on Google's recent annual shareholder meeting, which was dominated by argument over the company's human rights policies. Google's shareholders, on advice from their board, have voted down two proposals on Thursday that would have compelled Google to change its policies. "Google [has been] coming under fire for operating a version of its search engine that complies with China's censorship rules. Google argues that it's better for it to have a presence in the country and to offer people some information, rather than for it not to be active in China at all... [S]hareholders and rights groups including Amnesty International... continue to push Google to improve its policies in countries known for human rights abuses and limits on freedom of speech... Sergey Brin, cofounder and president of technology for Google, abstained from voting on either of the proposals. 'I agreed with the spirit of these proposals,' Brin said. But he said he didn't fully support them as they were written, and so did not want to vote for them."
Networking

Comcast Offers 50 Mbps Residential Speeds 332

An anonymous reader notes that Comcast is offering a new 50-Mbps / 6-Mbps package for residential customers for $150, starting in Minneapolis-St. Paul and extending nationwide by mid-2010. The new service will use the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which is nearing ratification. We've recently discussed Comcast's BitTorrent throttling and promise to quit it, and their low-quality 'HD' programming. How attractive will $150 for 50 Mbps be compared to Verizon's FiOS offerings?

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