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Submission + - Online Book Purchase Records Kept Private

Radon360 writes: Online retailer Amazon recently requested to have a ruling made by U.S. Magistrate unsealed. The ruling concerned involved the denial of a grand jury supoena requesting that Amazon turn over customer records that were related to a particular seller being investigated. Amazon stood their ground and the federal court agreed at an all-out disclosure was not necessary and would create a "chilling effect on expressive e-commerce (that) would frost keyboards across America". Although Amazon did not hand over customer information, some of it was obtained from the defendant's computer while other contacts were made with buyers through blind letters sent on behalf of the prosecutors by Amazon, asking them to contact the prosecution.
The Internet

Submission + - Hunting via the Internet idea DOA

Radon360 writes: The fairly recent concept of hunting animals via the internet has been met with swift legislation to prevent the idea from becoming a reality in many states. According to this Wall Street Journal article 33 states have already enacted bans and a federal ban is in the works. One of the cited reasons for the expediency is that there is no real opposition to enacting such a prohibition. Most notably, the NRA also supports these bans, though for different reasons than animal rights groups. While sportsman groups have generally come out in favor of such legislation, they are keeping a watchful eye out for the potential of broadly written laws that might impact conventional hunting methods. Just in case you might have been thinking about starting up a site to allow others to go sport-fishing over the internet, California has already banned this practice as well.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Trading Methane for CO2 on the Carbon Market

Radon360 writes: With U.S. government regulations on carbon dioxide emissions looming, the largest producers of carbon dioxide emissions are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to purchasing carbon credits. American Electric Power, one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the U.S. is looking to capture and burn off methane from farm manure lagoons as a means of purchasing cheap carbon credits from farmers. Initial plans call for simply burning off methane gas (without any power extraction). Methane gas is roughly 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and the idea is that by burning it will mitigate its impact on global warming.
The Internet

Submission + - Companies that Clean Up Bad Online Reputations

Radon360 writes: As the ever-increasing amount of information available online becomes indexed and searchable, more and more people find themselves potentially at risk of having unwanted personal information revealed or their names incorrectly associated with inflammatory topics. The are several firms that now sell their services of trying to remove or bury such information that their client deems offensive or troublesome. Companies, such as ReputationDefender and DefendMyName will, for a fee, do the legwork to find content that negatively impacts your reputation and have it removed or buried deeper in search rankings. However, some of these efforts can backfire, as the act to get it taken down can sometimes draw more attention than the offending content in the first place.

Submission + - iPods Can Make Pacemakers Malfunction

Radon360 writes: According to a recent study performed by a 17-year-old high school student in conjunction with the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University, iPods can cause pacemakers to malfunction. In a study of 100 patients, iPods interfered with the pacemaker's ability to monitor the patient's heart rhythm, up to 18 inches away in some cases. Although the results may be alarming, the senior author adds that their findings require more study.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Domain Profiteering from the Va. Tech Shootings

Radon360 writes: Within hours of the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, dozens of domain names that reflected this tragedy were snapped up by those looking to profit from the later auction and sale of these names. Cybersquatting on popular word combinations after a big news event is not uncommon. However, at what point does making money from other people's misfortunes cross the line? When the names of the victims were released, domains such as were also claimed.

Submission + - Intel to move to 45nm in 2nd Half of 2007

Crow T. Trollbot writes: Intel has announced that it's moving to a 45-nanometer fab process for its Penryn family of processors in the second half of 2007. This is a fairly aggressive move, and potentially a big challange to AMD. Intel is widley believed to have an edge on AMD with its current Core2 line of processors, and the majority of AMD's processor are still done in in 90nm, with AMD just now transitioning to 65nm, and no plans for 45nm until mid-2008.
United States

Submission + - Digital Fair Use bill introduced to US House

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica reports that "US Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R-CA) today announced the Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 (FAIR USE Act). The bill's aim is to help put an end to the madness circulating around the general imbalance that has befallen copyright in recent years."
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Surgical success linked to skill at video games

mjh writes: According to The Guardian, "A study has found a direct link between skill at video gaming and skill at keyhole, or laparoscopic, surgery. Young surgeons who spent at least three hours a week playing video games in the past made 37% fewer errors, were 27% faster, and scored 42% better overall than surgeons who had never played a video game at all." The sample size they quote seems rather small, but it suggests that Steven Johnson might be right.

Submission + - Canadian Government Says No to New Camcorder Law

canwaf writes: "The Canadian Government has rejected calls by the Canadian equivalent of the MPAA to bring in new tougher laws to combat film piracy in the cinemas. Citing an already stiff copyright law in Canada, Canada's Minister of Justice said there was no need to go after people with camcorders in Canadian movie theatres, "I do point out to people that the country is not completely bereft of laws in this area." The article states that currently "the maximum fine under the federal Copyright Act is $1-million and five years in jail for cam-cording a movie for commercial distribution." And with a recent articles blaming Canada for 50% of movie piracy, it can't help but hurt the CMPDA's claims that it has now been downgraded to twenty percent by one of their member's CEOs. Commentary, as always, on Michael Geist's blog."

Submission + - RIAA Admits ISP's Have Misidentified "John Doe

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA has sent out a letter to the ISP's telling them to stop making mistakes in identifying subscribers, and offering a "Pre-Doe settlement option" — with a discount of "$1000 or more" — to their subscribers, if and only if the ISP agrees to preserve its logs for 180 days. Other interesting points in the letter(pdf): the RIAA will be launching a web site for "early settlements",; the letter asks the ISP's to notify the RIAA if they have previously "misidentified a subscriber account in response to a subpoena" or became aware of "technical information... that causes you to question the information that you provided in response to our clients' subpoena"; it requires ISP's to notify the RIAA "as early as possible" as to whether they will enter the 180 day/"pre-Doe" plan; it mentions that there has been confusion over how ISP's should respond to the RIAA's subpoenas; it noted that ISP's have identified "John Does" who were not even subscribers of the ISP at the time of the infringement; and it requested that ISP's furnish their underlying log files as well as just the names and addresses, when responding to RIAA subpoenas."
The Internet

Submission + - Students suspended for remarks on Prinicpal

Uthic writes: The Toronto Star reports that 11 students at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School were suspended for up to eight days for remarks they made about their principal, Edward McMahon, on a Facebook group. The remarks were apparently derogatory and insulting due to the students' discontent with their principal and fell under the category of cyber-bullying. Additional information can be found on The Caledon Enterprise Website. Bruce Campbell, spokesman for the local school board, added that it's one thing to complain about your teacher or principal, but "you're taking it to a whole new level when you're putting it out there on the Internet." The group appears to have disappeared from Facebook, but there are other groups up that have some discussion about it, so one can't really verify what was said.

Submission + - City tries to cut energy bills with LEDs

AkumaKuruma writes: "Raleigh, N.C., wants to become LED City.

The city, which is in the center of the state's tech hub, is conducting experiments to see if it can cut energy consumption and maintenance costs by replacing conventional public light fixtures with ones based around light-emitting diodes.

In December, Raleigh — in conjunction with LED manufacturer Cree — replaced high-pressure sodium lights in a downtown parking garage with LED lights. Although the LED lamps cost substantially more than regular sodium lamps, they require less electricity and need to be replaced far less often.

Early projections indicate that the expense of retrofitting the garage's lighting system will get recovered in cost savings in two to three years, said Mayor Charles Meeker.

"We are saving over 40 percent of the energy we would otherwise use," said Meeker, who's currently on his third two-year term. "And the quality is better. With sodium lights, you get bugs in the cover, and the light is kind of yellowish."

Next, Raleigh will kick off a pilot program with LED streetlights and will also seek funds to convert the city's other parking garages. If all seven municipal parking lots in the city were retrofitted, it could save the city $100,000 a year in energy consumption and decreased maintenance, he said. The lights in stadiums, gyms, schools, parks and other public venues could be next.

If successful, the experiment could ultimately serve as a showcase for something several LED manufacturers are angling to accomplish: maneuvering LEDs into the commercial and residential lighting market. LEDs are used in flashlights and car headlights and taillights, but commercial and residential lighting represents a much larger opportunity. Approximately 22 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States goes toward lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

LEDs can last 75,000 hours or longer and consume far less power than standard incandescent bulbs. Only about 5 percent of the energy that goes into conventional bulbs actually turns into light; the rest gets dissipated as heat. If 25 percent of the lightbulbs in the United States were converted to LEDs putting out 150 lumens (a measure of light output) per watt — higher than the most current models — the country as a whole could save $115 billion in utility costs cumulatively by 2025, according to University of California Santa Barbara professor Stephen DenBaars.

LEDs also have begun to outperform fluorescent bulbs in energy efficiency, said Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda. The company last year unveiled an LED that can put out about 70 lumens per watt. That's a bit better than many compact fluorescent bulbs — those cone-shaped things that fit into regular light fixtures — on the market, which often get 60 lumens per watt.

The problem up until now has been cost. Consumers and businesses can buy lighting fixtures based around LEDs now, but the price is high compared with other types of lights. While fluorescent manufacturers dispute many of the energy efficiency claims by the LED industry, they also note that their products cost far less.

The rising cost of electricity, combined with the declining prices of LEDs, however, is making diodes more attractive to manufacturers of lighting fixtures, Swoboda said. Over the next year, LED-based light fixtures for commercial buildings and signs will begin to increase in number, he said. The commercial market in many ways is inherently more attractive because they don't need to be replaced as often, which cuts down the number of times the maintenance crew has to put up a ladder.

Nonetheless, he added that LED lights would likely begin to appear in new homes in six months to a year. Contractors can absorb the cost in the overall price of the home.

Making an LED light fixture stronger or less bright is largely a matter of how the fixture is designed and the number of LEDs inside. A lawn light based around LEDs might have two of the diodes inside, said Swoboda; a light for a garage might have 84.

LEDs emit red, blue or green light on their own. To make white light, the light from blue LEDs passes through a yellowish phosphor."

Submission + - 3D Hologram Movie Posters

An anonymous reader writes: The movie poster weblog reports that the company XYG Imaging has created technology to place eight seconds of video into a hologram movie poster: "The film industry is the first target for what XYZ RGB bills as the next-generation movie poster. The company can place a short clip right in the poster, giving people a chance to view a scene without going into the theatre."

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