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Comment Pretty Neat (Score 4, Interesting) 220

The guy who has the photo credit in the article (Kirk French) was my Archaeology TA during my freshman year. (I'm currently attending PSU for an EE degree). He's a really cool guy, glad to see he's doing well.

That aside, this is actually a pretty big discovery; very few ancient civilizations actually managed complex engineering achievements like running water. If anything this just adds to the mystery, if they had engineering knowledge of similar level to the Romans, why did their civilization suddenly die out?

Comment Alternatives? Psh (Score 2, Insightful) 157

As I'm currently in the "poor college student" demographic, I feel as if I can give a little insight into what these "alternative offerings" actually end up being.

I attend a rather well known college, and we were supposedly one of the first in the country to adopt a service that provided an 'alternative' to media piracy for students to obtain material by. This was originally provided by Napster, and for the the most part it wasn't a bad deal. At no extra cost to the students, you were able to get (mostly) DRM free music for your listening pleasure (or, it could be stripped out easily; through various methods)

Fast Foreward to 2007 -

As soon as my university's contract ran out for the Napster service, they picked up another service called "Ruckus" which, unlike Napster, is a dismal failure in what a digital media service should be. The catch line was "Expanded digital offerings then just music", but the reality of the situation ended up being:

- Almost no mainstream record companies signed up with the service. Most of what was provided is from independent or self publishing labels. Not the popular music people want

- There are 'movies' you can download with the service, but they consist almost entirely of music videos, again, of those strange bands you've never heard of. They also delete themselves after 2 days.

- Massive, MASSIVE amounts of DRM. Everything WMA or WMP formatted, and cannot be ported to multiple devices. Files expire after x period, etc.

The result of this means that for the student, you're back to square one, with piracy usually the most desirable option for obtaining media. It's not uncommon for underground networks to pop up, such as Dtella in such an environment, and if anything seems to further encourage such behaviour.


Submission + - Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable! 3

time961 writes: "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."
The Internet

Submission + - Demonoid Down ... For Good? 1

IdleByte writes: The ISP hosting has bowed to political pressure and shut down the once massive torrent index.

From their homepage: "The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding."

I wonder if it will ever come back or is this the end?

Submission + - Down For 2 This Year (

anon-e-mus writes: Well, it looks like Demonoid, one of the most popular torrent tracking sites, has gotten handed yet another bill of bad if you go to there is a simple and to the point message: "The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding." I guess the question now is will demonoid be back ever again and, if not, what does this mean for the smaller torrent trackers?

Submission + - Is Human Cloning Inevitable : A UN Report (

Tech.Luver writes: "The international community faces a stark choice: outlaw human cloning or prepare for the creation of cloned humans, U.N. researchers said Saturday. A report by the United Nations University's Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) says a ban on human cloning, coupled with freedom for nations to permit controlled therapeutic research, is the global community's best option. Despite widespread consensus amongst nations regarding the desirability of banning reproductive cloning, efforts to negotiate an international convention ground to a halt due to fundamental divisions regarding so-called research or therapeutic cloning. Research cloning, viewed by some as a possible source of new therapeutic remedies for degenerative diseases, see by others as unethical where it involves the production of embryos as a source of stem cells upon which such therapies are based. ( )"

Submission + - Korea proposes further censoring bulletin boards (

dave_h_in_philly writes: "An article in today's Korea Herald states that 'more than a quarter of Korean lawmakers' have joined a group that calls itself the Sunfull Politics Campaign, whose purpose is to 'root out ill-intended [I]nternet postings.' The group is also pressuring the government to expand the use of Korea's real-name system for bulletin board postings. Furthermore, the group pledges to 'clean up internet culture and educate teenagers from an early age.'"

Submission + - IBM Backpedals on No-Business-Method-Patent Pledge

theodp writes: "IBM positioned itself as quite the patent reformer as it dropped a pure-PR-poison claim for a US patent on offshoring US jobs. But the AP reports that Big Blue has no intention of giving up its claim for a patent on profiting from patents. An IBM spokesman acknowledged that 'Extracting Value From a Portfolio of Assets' does indeed describe a business method patent, which Big Blue publicly professes to loathe, but argued that it passes IBM's significant technical merit smell-test for patents. Take a whiff and judge for yourself!"

Submission + - Apple admits 1 in 6 iPhones hacked

thefickler writes: Apple has admitted that one in six iPhones sold (that's over a quarter of a million handsets) has been cracked to allow connection to networks other than AT&T, and that's just counting SIM hacks. Including software modifications that allow the use of unauthorized software the number is thought to be twice that.

Submission + - 100 MB Connection Over Existing Phone Lines (

Opticalus writes: IDM are reporting that an Australian researcher has discovered a way of running VDSL over existing copper phone lines. This would mean the broadband speeds you currently see on Verizon and AT&T's fiber networks could be achieved on standard copper phone lines. The technology is still in testing phases and is based around reducing line interference to almost nothing in order to achieve 100 MB connections.

Submission + - Scientists breakthrough for future chip wiring (

Arashtamere writes: Scottish and German scientists have discovered an important insight into the behaviour of tiny wires on a nanoscale, which may significantly impact on the way computers are wired in the future. "Researchers from the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering and Electronics carried out tests to show how tiny wires — 1,000 times thinner than a human hair — behave when manipulated. Wires on a nanoscale — measured in millionths of a millimeter — behave quite differently from bigger wires...While this may sound a relatively trivial discovery, it is actually pretty important to the development of computers in the future. Indeed, the practical relevance of the discovery is when the linear scale of microelectronics devices goes down by another factor of 10 sometime in the future.";623552665;fp;2;fpid;1

Submission + - Google vows to increase Gmail limit ( 1

Lucas123 writes: "Google said that people are devouring capacity with photos and other attachments on its Gmail e-mail service faster than the company can add to it at its current pace. So Google said on Friday that it would increase the rate at which it is adding capacity to its Web-based service. There's only one problem, Google's main competitors — Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail — far surpassed Gmail this year with their own capacity."

Submission + - Consumer group demands XP for Vista victims (

thefickler writes: Dissatisfaction with Windows Vista seems to be swelling, with the Dutch Consumers' Union (Consumentenbond) asking Microsoft to supply unhappy Vista users with a free copy of Windows XP. Not surprisingly, Microsoft refused. This prompted Consumentenbond to advise consumers to ask for XP, rather than Vista, when buying a new computer. Can this be going any more wrong for Microsoft?

Submission + - And on the sixth day, man created life (

dr.angelos writes: The Guardian is reporting that a scientist is planning to announce that he has created artificial life by building a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals. This development, if confirmed to be true, is bound to raise new exciting possibilities in the development of new technology to combat problems like global warming, and conversely is likely to raise a number of ethical concerns. Are we seeing the twilight of a new era in technological progress?

Submission + - Purpose of appendix believed found (

CambodiaSam writes: From the AP wire via CNN: WASHINGTON (AP) — Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut. That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week. For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous. Doctors figured it had no function. Surgeons removed them routinely. People live fine without them. The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most are good and help digest food. But sometimes the flora of bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case.

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