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Submission + - IT Pros Get Rowdiest At Company Holiday Parties? (

ericatcw writes: According to ChannelWeb UK, IT guys (and gals) are the most likely "to embarrass themselves" at Christmas and holiday parties this season. Nearly 40% of the 2,000 workers surveyed by Avaya — admittedly, in the UK — admitted to drinking too much while 27% said they "snogged" (kissed) their boss during holiday gatherings.

Submission + - Is it worth investing in a high-efficiency power supply? (

MrSeb writes: "If you’ve gone shopping for a power supply any time over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the explosive proliferation of various 80 Plus ratings. As initially conceived, an 80 Plus certification was a way for PSU manufacturers to validate that their power supply units were at least 80% efficient at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of full load. In the pre-80 Plus days, PSU prices normally clustered around a given wattage output. The advent of the various 80 Plus levels has created a second variable that can have a significant impact on unit price. This leads us to three important questions: How much power can you save by moving to a higher-efficiency supply, what’s the premium of doing so, and how long does it take to make back your initial investment? ExtremeTech investigates."
Your Rights Online

Submission + - RIAA Failed To Disclose Expert's Lobbying History to "Six-Strikes" Partners (

concealment writes: "A month before the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy plan goes live in the U.S., the responsible Center of Copyright Information (CCI) is dealing with a small crisis. As it turns out the RIAA failed to mention to its partners that the “impartial and independent” technology expert they retained previously lobbied for the music industry group. In a response to the controversy, CCI is now considering whether it should hire another expert to evaluate the anti-piracy monitoring technology."

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child Screenshot-sm 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Submission + - It's like carbon credits for the Catholic Church 1

An anonymous reader writes: A brand new website has gone online, looking to capitalize on the tiny grain of shame some individuals feel after downloading a piece of entertainment that was good enough to purchase — but not at the price the producers were asking. I emailed the address provided at the website (cleverly named "The Pirate Pays" at to ask how their plan worked.

"People who feel a bit of shame or guilt for having downloaded a movie or TV show or music or game or whatever and want to absolve themselves of that guilt somehow can simply go to the site and pay whatever amount they think would make them feel better. For example, if you downloaded a movie that was pretty good, but you wouldn't pay $15 for the DVD, you could pay $5 to We then use all these funds to purchase entertainment that would not otherwise have been bought. That way, your money — the amount you think is the right amount — makes its way to the producers."

With the increasing use of P2P technology for sharing all forms of entertainment, might be on to something.

Submission + - East Texas Still #1 For Patent Lawsuits (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Patently-O has an analysis of which courts are most likely to wait while a patent is reexamined. It should come as no surprise that the Eastern District of Texas has set another record, this time getting both the most requests for a stay, while being less likely to wait for the reexamination than anywhere else. Not only do they grant only a record low 20% of the requests, they generally only wait to see if the patent is going to be upheld when the defendant agrees to give up certain legal defenses in return for the stay. The next lowest venues grant almost twice as many requests as EDT (35%), while the average approval rate of the venues analyzed is just under 58%—almost three times as many as in East Texas. So if your case finishes before the PTO's reexamination finishes, you can end up with a judgment against you for 'infringing' upon a patent that later turns out to be invalid. Still, the low rates in certain places show that other venues are trying to become as attractive as EDT for patent plaintiffs. After all, these lawsuits can bring a lot of money to the local economy."

Comment Re:It's because meters and feet are the same (Score 2, Insightful) 429

Quickly, convert from 1234 kiloinch to miles!

$ time units -v '1234 kiloinch' miles
        1234 kiloinch = 19.47601 miles
        1234 kiloinch = (1 / 0.051345219) miles

real 0m0.046s
user 0m0.040s
sys 0m0.008s

That didn't take to long at all!

Seriously, the metric system has a lot going for it in some ways, but is harder in others. For example, while 10 is a great multiplier (since we tend to think in base 10), it doesn't have a lot of factors. For example, dividing by 3 doesn't work so well. Sure, you and I know that 1/3 meter is 33.33333 cm, but that's not as easy as 1/3 foot being 4 inches. 5280 (the number of feet in a mile) is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15 and a lot more. Not that a 15th of a mile comes up a lot, but if it does, you can be assured that it's exactly 352 feet!

The metric system units are also more calibrated to scientific use than everyday use. The meter is too long and the gram is too light (the liter is about right). Other things, like degrees Celsius are too big (not to mention as arbitrary as Fahrenheit). And metric time never really took off -- you still have seconds, minutes, hours, etc.

All in all, the metric system is optimized for scientific work where conversions between units happen more often, and knowing that 100 million micrograms is .1 kilograms is useful. But it doesn't work so well for common, human scale use.

Comment Re:Political correctness assaulting opposers (Score 1) 1364

Kano points out the verse from 1 Corinthians, but there's also 1 Timothy 1:10. The word translated "homosexual" is arsenokoites. This word is derived from arsen, meaning "man", and koite which is the root for the Latin "coitus". There's also Romans 1:26-27. Now clearly there's some disagreement on what these verses actually mean, but it seems clear to me, at least, that Paul agreed with the Mosaic view that homosexuality was abhorrent to God.

Comment Re:Why no online version of OpenOffice? (Score 1) 377

I almost agree. I'm sure there are niches where on-line document editing has merit, but the bottom line is that cloud computing is still more vapour than solid software. On-line office suites suck in almost every other way compared to their desktop-based brethren, and it's not as if there's no scope for improvement in those, they've just reached the point of being "good enough" that people tolerate their problems.

I can't help noticing that every time someone makes observations like these on forums like Slashdot, there are usually a string of responses about how trusting Google/Amazon/whoever with your sensitive data is better than trusting in-house people who are still a security risk, don't have the same resources to build in resilience to system failures, and so on. And then over the following week, it always seems like there are a couple of articles about major downtime from such services, another one about a serious security breach, and every few weeks there's a major data loss incident.

In any case, while centralised storage has merit for some purposes, you don't need software-as-a-service for that, you just need somewhere you can save a file.


Submission + - Want to Get Cancer? Move to the US

Hugh Pickens writes: "Results of a new study show that the risk of cancer for Hispanics living in Florida is 40 percent higher than for those who live in their native countries. The findings hold even after researchers corrected for the increase in detection rates and better access to health care in the United States. "This suggests that changes in their environment and lifestyles make them more prone to develop cancer," said Dr. Paulo S. Pinheiro, a researcher in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The results also indicated that different Hispanic population groups showed different patterns of cancer once they moved to the United States (PDF); Mexicans had the lowest rates of cancer overall and Puerto Ricans had the highest rates of cancer. Cubans' risk of cancer most closely resembles that of non-Hispanic whites. Similar to the U.S. non-Hispanic white population, Cubans and Puerto Ricans seemed to acquire higher risk for diet-related cancers relatively quickly. "It is puzzling that the groups for which integration in mainstream American society is easier, including access to health care, are also those with higher cancer rates even after accounting for the increased detection of certain cancers in the United States," says Pinheiro. The researchers suggest that Hispanics avoid adopting unhealthy lifestyles that may be more common in the United States, such as smoking, drinking and bad diets."

Submission + - Windows 7 versus Windows XP on a Netbook (

Justin writes: "Many in the industry are counting on Windows 7 to bring the netbook market to the next level. Having netbook manufacturers ship netbooks with 7+ year old Windows XP pre-installed surely deterred some from joining the ranks of households with the small, light and portable netbooks. It seems Microsoft has addressed most of the pitfalls of Windows Vista on a netbook by increasing battery life and performance to be very close to that of the lighter weight Windows XP. Legit Reviews has the full scoop of battery life and performance tests pitting Windows 7 against Windows XP on the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Netbook."

Security Certificate Warnings Don't Work 432

angry tapir writes "In a laboratory experiment, researchers found that between 55 percent and 100 percent of participants ignored certificate security warnings, depending on which browser they were using (different browsers use different language to warn their users). The researchers first conducted an online survey of more than 400 Web surfers, to learn what they thought about certificate warnings. They then brought 100 people into a lab and studied how they surf the Web. They found that people often had a mixed-up understanding of certificate warnings. For example, many thought they could ignore the messages when visiting a site they trust, but that they should be more wary at less-trustworthy sites."
The Courts

Canadian Gov't Asks Public About New Copyright Law 77

Mike Lawrie writes "The so-called Canadian DMCA has had a long history. Historically, proposed legislation has favoured the views of CRIA, the Canadian arm of the RIAA almost completely. However, this time around the government is consulting the public before drafting the bill. They have launched a (Linux-based!) website designed to provide a public forum for discussion. Now is the time to speak up."

US Agency Blocked Cellphone / Driving Safety Study 464

By now you've probably seen the NY Times's long piece on distracted driving — about how most drivers and most legislators willfully ignore the evidence of the dangers of talking on a cellphone, texting, and other electronic distractions while behind the wheel. According to this article, cellphone use while driving causes over 1,000 fatalities a year in the US. Another shoe has now dropped: it seems that the US National Highway Safety Administration blocked a proposed definitive study of the risks. The NHSA now cites concerns about angering Congress. Two consumer safety groups had filed a FOIA request for documents about the aborted study, and the Times has now made the documents public — including the research behind the request for a study of 10,000 drivers.

Up To 10% of CD-Rs Fail Within a Few Years 317

Whatever you think about the likelihood that a new kind of DVDs could last for 1,000 years, this note from reader crazyeyes should give you pause about expecting current CD-Rs to be reliably readable for decades. TechARP found a failure rate near 10% for CD-Rs recorded 7 to 9 years ago, after storage in ideal conditions. On some, one or more individual files could not be recovered; others were not reliably readable on two separate drives. "In the past, hard disk drives were small (in capacity) and costly. To make up for the lack of affordable storage, many turned to CD-Rs. As it became common to store backups and personal pictures, videos, etc. on CD-Rs, the lifespan of these discs became a concern. According to manufacturers, CD-Rs should last for decades. Some even quoted an upper limit of 120 years based on accelerated aging tests! That sure is a long time, isn't it? But will CD-Rs really last that long?"

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