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Submission + - Teenager Expelled and Arrested for Science Experiment

ruhri writes: A 16 year-old girl in Florida not only has been expelled from her high school but also is being charged as an adult with a felony after replicating the classic toilet-bowl cleaner and aluminum foil experiment.

This has quite a number of scientists and science educators up in arms. The fact that she's African American and that the same assistant state attorney has decided not to charge a white teenager who accidentally killed his brother with a BB gun has some thinking whether this is a case of doing science while black.

Submission + - Mozilla Claims Government Spyware Masquerading As Firefox

twoheadedboy writes: Mozilla has sent British spyware pusher Gamma International a cease and desist letter, after a report showed how the surveillance software was being delivered under the guise of a Firefox executable. Gamma has come under fire in recent months after its spyware was found in use in countries with poor human rights records. Its FinSpy tool, which can infect smartphones and PCs, was seen in use in various nations run by apparently repressive regimes, including Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. Mozilla isn't happy about how that spyware is getting on users' machines, however. "As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this abuse is vital to our brand, mission and continued success,” said Mozilla chief privacy officer Alex Fowler.

Submission + - Isaac Asimov's Psychohistory Becoming A Reality? (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wired.com publishes an interesting interview with University of Connecticut Professor Peter Turchin about an emerging field in applied science named "Cliodynamics":
"In Issac Asimov’s classic science fiction saga Foundation, mathematics professor Hari Seldon predicts the future using what he calls psychohistory. Drawing on mathematical models that describe what happened in the past, he anticipates what will happen next, including the fall of the Galactic Empire.
That may seem like fanciful stuff. But Peter Turchin is turning himself into a real-life Hari Seldon — and he’s not alone.
Turchin — a professor at the University of Connecticut — is the driving force behind a field called “cliodynamics,” where scientists and mathematicians analyze history in the hopes of finding patterns they can then use to predict the future. It’s named after Clio, the Greek muse of history.[...]"
The bad news is that, according to these scientists early studies, it appears that "[...]the prognosis isn’t that far removed from the empire-crushing predictions laid down by Hari Seldon in the Foundation saga. Unless something changes, he says, we’re due for a wave of widespread violence in about 2020, including riots and terrorism.".

Submission + - Scientology proven false... by their counsel (npr.org)

drinkypoo writes: "In one very interesting moment, Davis said, 'Of course, if it's true that Mr. Hubbard was never injured during the war, then he never did heal himself using Dianetics principles, then Dianetics is based on a lie, and then Scientology is based on a lie. The truth is that Mr. Hubbard was a war hero.' And the way he phrased that, that everything depended on whether Hubbard had sustained these injuries and healed himself was like a wager on the table." And to drive the point home, "And [a researcher] had inquired about Howard D. Thompson, this lieutenant commander that supposedly signed this notice of separation. And the archivist at the time said they had thoroughly researched the roles of Navy officers at the time, and there was no such person."
Idle

Submission + - Supermarket Backs Squirrel Meat Sales Amid Protest

Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that the owner of a supermarket in Crouch End, North London defends selling squirrel meat as a sustainable way of feeding people, says it has a "lovely" taste, and predicts that more people will eat squirrel in the future. "I think it's lovely. It's a bit like rabbit. I think there will be a lot of fuss about this now, but in a few years it will become accepted practice that we eat squirrels. People don't bat an eyelid now about eating rabbit," says Andrew Thornton owner of a Budgens supermarket adding that squirrel meat is more sustainable than beef and that the squirrels will be culled anyway. "It takes about 15 tonnes of grain to produce one tonne of beef, which is not sustainable." But not everyone is happy with the sale of squirrel meat and the animal welfare group Viva accuses Budgens of profiting from a wildlife massacre. "If this store is attempting to stand out from the crowd by selling squirrel, the only message they are giving out is that they are happy to have the blood of a beautiful wild animal on their hands for the sake of a few quid," says Viva founder and director, Juliet Gellatley."
Idle

Submission + - Given truth, the Misinformed Believe Lies More (firedoglake.com) 2

SharpFang writes: In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
Science

Submission + - US experiment hints at 'multiple God particles' (bbc.co.uk) 1

krou writes: Recent results from the Dzero experiment at the Tevatron particle accelerator suggest that those looking for a single Higgs boson particle should, in fact, be looking for five particles, and the data gathered may point to new laws beyond the Standard Model. 'The DZero results showed much more significant "asymmetry" of matter and anti-matter — beyond what could be explained by the Standard Model. Bogdan Dobrescu, Adam Martin and Patrick J Fox from Fermilab say this large asymmetry effect can be accounted for by the existence of multiple Higgs bosons. They say the data point to five Higgs bosons with similar masses but different electric charges. Three would have a neutral charge and one each would have a negative and positive electric charge. This is known as the two-Higgs doublet model.'
Image

OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids Screenshot-sm 197

An anonymous reader writes "The sci-fi movie Splice seems to have scared the Ohio's State Senator Steve Buehrer. The Ohio Senate has passed Sen. Buehrer's bill banning 'the creation, transportation, or receipt of a human-animal hybrid, the transfer of a nonhuman embryo into a human womb, and the transfer of a human embryo into a nonhuman womb.' So much for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Image

Salad Spinner Made Into Life-Saving Centrifuge Screenshot-sm 87

lucidkoan writes "Two Rice University students have transformed a simple salad spinner into an electricity-free centrifuge that can be used to diagnose diseases on the cheap. Created by Lauren Theis and Lila Kerr, the ingenious DIY centrifuge is cobbled together using a salad spinner, some plastic lids, combs, yogurt containers, and a hot glue gun. The simple and easily-replicated design could be an invaluable tool for clinics in the developing world, enabling them to separate blood to detect diseases like anemia without electricity."
Government

Submission + - Anger mounts over UK copyright bill 'stitch up' (computerworlduk.com) 1

superapecommando writes: The Digital Economy Bill will be debated today by the Lords, who will decide if it becomes law, after being controversially rushed through in a vote in the House of Commons.
The bill passed through the Commons yesterday with a majority of 142 votes. The vote followed condemnation a day earlier, when it made a major advance in a debate attended by under 40 MPs. Campaigners for and against the bill had spent thousands of pounds attempting to catch the attention of politicians.
Under the bill, users could be cut off if they access pirated content, and websites hosting that content could also be blocked. Proponents say these steps would protect content creators — but opponents, who presented a petition to parliament with thousands of signatures, see the bill as threatening civil liberties.

Science

World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered 72

arcticstoat writes "One of the barriers to the development of nanoscale electronics has potentially been eliminated, as scientists have discovered the world's smallest superconductor. Made up of four pairs of molecules, and measuring just 0.87nm, the superconductor could potentially be used as a nanoscale interconnect in electronic devices, but without the heat and power dissipation problems associated with standard metal conductors."
Data Storage

SSD Price Drops Signaling End of Spinning Media? 646

gjt writes "When Intel and OCZ recently announced new 'affordable' Solid State Disk drives — offering a meager 32-40GB — we initially yawned. But, then we took a closer look at the press releases and the in-progress research and development in SSD technology and opened our eyes. While the new drives aren't affordable on a cost per gigabyte basis for everyone, it does set a precedent — and most importantly a barometer price of $100. And it really does start the death clock for hard drive technology."
Security

FTC Worries About Consumers, Cloud Data, and Privacy 175

pcause writes "Ars Techina has a nice article about the FTC's concern that consumers don't understand the implications of storing their data in the cloud. From the article: 'Data is now sitting on servers outside of your control, where it can be accessed far more easily by Google itself, hackers, and law enforcement than it ever could if kept within the device. Once data passes over the network, it gets much easier to access in realtime; once it is stored on a remote server, it gets much easier to access at any time. And those are just the phone settings. Google also has access to search history data, anything stored in Google Docs or Spreadsheets, complete schedules stored in Google Calendar, and recent Maps searches. Combine them all, and companies like Google become one-stop shops for authorities looking for personal information.' Do you think the average consumer even has a clue about this issue?"
Music

Submission + - Artists Attack RIAA after Thomas-Rasset Verdict (rollingstone.com)

gzipped_tar writes: Last week a judge ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes the RIAA a $1.92 million fine for illegally downloading 24 songs. Richard Marx — one of the artists whose music Thomas-Rasset downloaded via P2P network Kazaa — spoke out against the court's verdict, saying he's "ashamed" to be associated with the massive fine.

"As a long-time professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels," Marx said in a statement. "These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets."

He continued, "So now we have a 'judgement' in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."

Marx isn't the only artist to take umbrage with the ruling against Thomas-Rasset. Writing on his official Website, Moby said, "What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business."

In related news, Nate Anderson on ArsTechnica noted that "In the wake of the RIAA win, the organization's legendarily poor public image somehow got even worse". He quoted the words from a music critic Jim DeRogatis: "[the Thomas-Rasset ruling is] infamous as one of the most wrong-headed in the history of the American judicial system--not to mention that it will forever stand as the best evidence of the contempt of the old-school music industry toward the music lovers who once were its customers."

On the other side of the story, an RIAA spokesperson recently commented about their victory: "This group of 12 Minnesotans showed us that, despite the protestations of some pundits who suggest that the digital world should resemble some kind of new wild west, the majority understands and believes that the same laws and rules we follow every day apply online. Not just in theory, but in practice. Another group of 12 people presented with similar questions said the same thing two years ago. That makes a sample size of only 24, but it's certainly enough to learn from."

Hardware Hacking

First Impressions of the Neuros Link 64

DeviceGuru writes "Having recently constructed the BoxeeBox, DeviceGuru blogger Rick Lehrbaum naturally was eager to check out Neuros Technology's somewhat similar IP-TV set-top box. Lehrbaum's first-impressions review of the Neuros Link describes the device's hardware and Ubuntu-based software, shows screenshots of its functionality, identifies a handful of weak spots, offers some specific suggestions for improvement, and shares a few hacks (including adding an HDD and Boxee). All in all, he concludes, the Link's hardware is more than worth its minimal $300 pricetag."

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