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Submission + - Dish Network Announces Prime Time TV with No Ads

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Forbes reports that Dish Network has announced a new feature called called Auto Hop for its satellite TV subscribers that will let you automatically skip all commercials for prime time television from the four major broadcast networks when you watch the day after the programs are first aired. “Viewers love to skip commercials,” says Vivek Khemka, vice president of DISH Product Management. “With the Auto Hop capability of the Hopper, watching your favorite shows commercial-free is easier than ever before." Craig Moffett says that its going to be hard for Dish to maintain good relationships with its programming affiliates when they start offering a feature intended to cut out the bulk of the affiliates’ revenues and adds that whether the auto-skip feature can withstand legal challenge remains to be seen. “Given the already long list of industry-unfriendly features promoted by Dish, one wonders if Auto Hop will be the final straw that provokes legal action from the broadcast networks,” says Moffett. "We suspect Auto Hop probably uses some sort of bookmarking insertion based on automated recognition of commercial inserts (called ‘fingerprinting’), which if true could certainly be argued to be a manipulation of the content stream by the distributor.”"

Submission + - Feds Seize Movie Download Portals (torrentfreak.com)

SharkLaser writes: Homeland Security’s ICE unit has just started another phase of Operation In Our Sites. Last week the seized sites were selling counterfeit goods, but this time the list consists solely of movie download sites. ICE has now seized the domains of 11 Korean movie download portals. This is first time Operation In Our Sites has been expanded to include sites targeting non-US nationals and non-english sites. ICE has since added a message in Korean to the seized sites. Interestingly, while the sites were in Korean, the domain names are all connected to a Seattle-based company World Multimedia Group, Inc.

Submission + - Cryptic codes in Oslo-terrorist manifest (no.net)

repvik writes: The 1500 page manifest of terrorist that killed 77 people in Oslo and on Utøya two weeks ago, contains a series of seemingly encrypted URLs. There are 46 of them, and the initial part of the URLs appear to be GPS coordinates. An effort to analyze the codes have been launched.

Submission + - European e.coli superbug was bioengineered (naturalnews.com)

Robadob writes: This particular e.coli variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains are almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibiotics in order to provide the "mutation pressure" that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.

So if you're curious about the origins of such a strain, you can essentially reverse engineer the genetic code of the e.coli and determine fairly accurately which antibiotics it was exposed to during its development. This step has now been done (see below), and when you look at the genetic decoding of this O104 strain now threatening food consumers across the EU, a fascinating picture emerges of how it must have come into existence.


Submission + - Why people watch instead of play Starcraft (jeffhuang.com)

generalepsilon writes: Researchers from the University of Washington have found a key reason why Starcraft is a popular spectator sport, especially in Korea. In a paper published last week, they theorize that Starcraft incorporates 'information asymmetry', where the players and spectators each have different pieces of information, which transforms into entertainment. Sometimes spectators know something the players don't: they watch in suspense as players walk their armies into traps or a dropship sneaks behind the mineral line. Other times, players know something the spectators yearn to find out, such as 'cheese' (spectacular build orders that attempt to outplay an opponent early in the game). Rather than giving as much information as possible to spectators, it may be more crucial for game designers to decide which information to give to spectators, and when to reveal this information.

Submission + - The Rules of Thumb for Tech Purchasing 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Sam Grobart writes in the NYT that buying gadgets can sometimes be like buying a car; it requires sorting through options because the reality is that most of us are usually dealing with a finite amount of money to spend, and that means making trade-offs. Grobart puts forward his set of rules for getting the most for your tech dollar when buying computers, cameras, cellphones, data plans, and service contracts. For example, Rule No. 1 — Pay for PC Memory, not speed. "When buying and configuring a new computer, companies often give the option of upgrading the processor and adding more memory, or RAM. If it is an either/or proposition, go for the RAM," writes Grobart. "Processors are usually fast enough for most people; it is the RAM that can be the bottleneck." Other rules include "Pay for the messaging, not the minutes," "Pay for the components, not the cables," "Pay for the sensor size, not the megapixels," and "Pay for the TV size, not the refresh rate." Kevin Kelly expands on Grobart's rules of thumb with "Pay for the glass, not the shutters," Pay for reliability, not mileage," and "Pay for comfort, not for weight." Any others?"

Submission + - Russia moves to universal ID card (uecard.ru)

prostoalex writes: On January 1st 2012, Russian government will start issuing universal ID cards that will replace current national identification system (Russia has a system of internal passports), medical insurance cards, student IDs, public transport passes, and debit cards. The smart card contains unique personal identifiers and allows for multiple levels of authentication. The Russian government is pushing for local government agencies, transportation providers, banks and retail operators to adopt the government-issued ID to streamline their operations.

Submission + - Cold Fusion claims are back! This time from Italy. (nextbigfuture.com)

intangible writes: Here we go again... a couple scientists in Italy (scam artists?) are claiming to have accomplished Cold Fusion and will be showing off their work on Jan 15.
I hope I'm wrong about the "scam" part, but we'll see soon enough (unless they prevent all outside evaluations, hide their implementation, and prevent replication by third parties as is customary with all good investor money grabs).


Submission + - wikileaks down, download insurance file (wlcentral.org) 2

Vernes writes: After US informed agencies and governments about wikileak's planned release of new information, the site now seems to be unreachable. on wlcentral.org, people are suggested to download the 'insurance file' who's content is encrypted and still unknown. File is available at: https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5723136/WikiLeaks_insurance

Submission + - Social Engineering Definitely a Massive Threat (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: A new report reveals some alarming information regarding a DEFCON capture the flag contest which included targets such as BP, Shell, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and Pepsi. One of the most worrying findings was that it doesn’t take a seasoned expert in social engineering to successfully penetrate a company. Inexperienced attackers have easy access to free resources including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Search, and Google Street. These resources, coupled with call centers and customer service departments that are focused on customer satisfaction, were enough to gather valuable information from most targeted companies.

Submission + - Swiss court finds tracking p2p illegal (wordpress.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A swiss court has declared the activities of Logistep AG to track down the IP addresses of P2P transactions at the request of rights holders to be illegal and has ordered the arrest of its director.

Submission + - Quantum Entanglement May Hold DNA Together (technologyreview.com) 1

KentuckyFC writes: The weird laws of quantum mechanics may be more important for life than biologists have imagined, according to a group of physicists who have calculated that DNA is held together by quantum entanglement. They've constructed a simplified theoretical model of DNA in which each nucleotide consists of a cloud of electrons around a central positive nucleus. This negative cloud can move relative to the nucleus, creating a dipole. And the movement of the cloud back and forth is a harmonic oscillator. When the nucleotides bond to form a base pair, these clouds become entangled and oscillate in opposite directions to ensure the stability of the helical stucture. Because these oscillations are quantum in nature, they occur in a superposition of states, so that the overall movement of the helix is zero. In a purely classical model, however, this cannot happen. If the helix were purely classical, it would vibrate and shake itself apart. So in this sense, the quantum entanglement holds the strands together. The work is purely theoretical at the moment but raises interesting questions about whether the entanglement can be exploited for other purposes, such as the transmission and processing of information.

Deformable Liquid Mirrors For Adaptive Optics 196

eldavojohn writes "Want to make a great concave mirror for your telescope? Put a drop of mercury in a bowl and spin the bowl. The mercury will spread out to a concave reflective surface smoother than anything we can make with plain old glass right now. The key problem in this situation is that the bowl will always have to point straight up. MIT's Technology Review is analyzing a team's success in combating problems with bringing liquid mirrors into the practical applications of astronomy. To fight the gravity requirement, the team used a ferromagnetic liquid coated with a metal-like film and very strong magnetic fields to distort the surface of that liquid as they needed. But this introduces new non-linear problems of control when trying to sync up several of these mirrors similar to how traditional glass telescopes use multiple hexagonal mirrors mounted on actuators. The team has fought past so many of these problems plaguing liquid mirrors that they produced a proof of concept liquid mirror just five centimeters across with 91 actuators cycling at one kilohertz and the ability to linearize the response of the liquid. And with that, liquid mirrors take a giant leap closer to practicality."

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