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Comment San Francisco astroturf (Score 1) 250

There is a reason why Silicon Valley is not in San Francisco. San Francisco may be an entertaining place to live as long as you ignore the homeless people, drug dealers and nutty politicians. The real innovation is near Palo Alto, Cupertino, Mountain View, Santa Clara and San José. Those places are just too laid back and relaxing for some people living in San Francisco.


Submission + - Iranian cyber army strikes again -- hitting VoA (

angry tapir writes: "The pro-Iran hacktivist group that defaced the Baidu and Twitter Web sites a year ago has hit another target: the U.S. Government's Voice of America news site. Voice of America was knocked offline temporarily after hackers were able to change the organization's DNS (Domain Name System) settings, redirecting Web traffic hitting Voice of America sites to another site controlled by the hackers."

Submission + - CIA Shows Off SuperSecret Spy Goodies ( 1

Velcroman1 writes: In a world where Russian femme fatales become international brands and an iconic British spy franchise has made a culturally resurgent reboot, it seems only fitting that the notoriously secretive Central Intelligence Agency is giving the world an insider’s look at some of its wackier exploits.

Last week, the U.S. spy organization launched a revamped website with links to YouTube and Flickr containing Agency historical videos and picture galleries.

“The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the agency available to more people, more easily,” Director Panetta said in a statement. “The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe.” In terms of pure coolness the Flickr stream takes the cake — including never-before-seen gallery of special agent supergadgets.

The Military

Submission + - Can you design a tank? Well you could win $10,000 (

coondoggie writes: Ok so it may not be a tank, but the scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today issued a $10,000 to design a next-generation military fighting vehicle. Specifically, DARPA's Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, sponsored by advanced vehicle manufacturer, Local Motors calls for the general public to "conceptualize a vehicle body design for two different missions-Combat Reconnaissance and Combat Delivery & Evacuation."

Submission + - California Spam Law Upheld by Appeals Court. 1 writes: In the first California appeals court ruling, in Hypertouch v. Valueclick, it is ruled that the I-CAN-SPAM Act does not preempt California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5. California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5 prohibits the use of falsified headers and subject lines that are likely to mislead recipients.

Spammers have been claiming, and some courts have been ruling, that to survive preemption, a Plaintiff has to show all the elements of fraud (false representation, knowledge, reliance, and damage from the reliance.) The reliance and damage from the reliance is difficult as it would essentially require the recipient to buy the penis enlargement pills and show that they don't work, or to send the money to the Nigerian prince. An ISP could never show reliance and harm, as they are not the recipient and would not be responding to e-mails traversing their systems.

Spammers, and Courts have been claiming that the rulings in Gordon v. Virtumundo, 575 F.3d 1040, and Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Mummagraphics (4th Cir. 2006)
469 F.3d 348 rules that state laws are preempted, but this is dispelled in Hypertouch. In both Gordon and Omega, there was no false information inserted, just not complete (the spammer could be identified using a whois lookup.) In Hypertouch, it is alleged that there were false names in the headers. The Court's seem not to get, or it has not been argued, that a from line is supposed to say who/what an e-mail is from, not from the "Free 50 inch plasma TV." What legitimate business hides their identity when sending an e-mail?

While most of the federal courts have been ruling that it is not required, those rulings do not bind the state courts. This ruling binds all California courts.

The ruling also made it clear that the advertiser is responsible for the acts of their agents, even if their agents promise not to spam. This is very important, as in most, and my own litigation, the Defendants' David Szpak and Emmanuel Gurtler have their affiliates agree not to spam, but had hired Yamboo Financials, (See ) which had 17 different affiliate ids, and ignored multiple lawsuits for spamming.

A copy of the ruling is at

Submission + - That much for Gorilla Glass, along comes Godzilla ( 1

D4C5CE writes: Technology Review reports on Caltech and Berkeley scientists' development of an unobtainium come true: "Glass, Jim, but not as we know it" — almost unbreakable yet barely affordable for using palladium as a key ingredient. Therefore the first applications are expected to be small enough to crown ... neither your house nor your next iPhone, but probably your teeth for a lifetime.

Submission + - Cloak hides underwater objects from sonar ( 1

schwit1 writes: In one University of Illinois lab, invisibility is a matter of now you hear it, now you don't.

Led by mechanical science and engineering professor Nicholas Fang, Illinois researchers have demonstrated an acoustic cloak, a technology that renders underwater objects invisible to sonar and other ultrasound waves.

"We are not talking about science fiction. We are talking about controlling sound waves by bending and twisting them in a designer space," said Fang, who also is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

The researchers tested their cloak's ability to hide a steel cylinder. They submerged the cylinder in a tank with an ultrasound source on one side and a sensor array on the other, then placed the cylinder inside the cloak and watched it disappear from their sonar.

"The structure of what you're trying to hide doesn't matter," Fang said. "The effect is similar. After we placed the cloaked structure around the object we wanted to hide, the scattering or shadow effect was greatly reduced."

I'm sure the Navy will have kittens if this becomes practical. What's to protect the coast or carrier battle groups from enemy subs?


Submission + - IBM's Watson to Play Against Jeopardy! Champs (

UTF-8 writes: IBM is pitting its natural language Watson supercomputer against two of the quiz show Jeopardy!'s biggest champion players in a $1 million man versus machine challenge for the ages. The game will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being played over three consecutive days. There is also a YouTube video and some Q&A about the project.

Submission + - Rare earth elements; the metaphorical Unobtainium

frank_tudor writes: "An amusing title but there is very serious concern is unfolding in the rare earth elements industry here in the U.S. At the highest concept is 'clean energy' with hybrid cars zipping around a wind farm speckled cityscapes but at the moment it all boils down to who controls REE, who can extract REE and refine it (recycling included) so it can be used in materials to make 'something useful' out of these elusive rare earth elements. So when Heather Hansen published this 'surgical' description of the REE situation, it goes without saying that using the word Unobtainium to describe rare earth elements pretty much sums up the problems we face. But here are my personal concerns and questions when it comes to REE... Will China indeed curb REE exports and eventually stop exporting in five years like they have suggested? Will China then consume their own resources 'and import more' to get the U.S., and the world, high end finished clean energy products? I think that is what we need here in the United States to stay in the economically competitive game, isn't it? What about magnets? We don't have single company in the U.S. here that makes NdFeB magnets (seems like we are 5 to 10 years behind). It just feels that we are not technologically outfitted for cutting edge REE consumer products let alone efficiently manufacturing the big ticket REE products. So it all feels like a huge race with the U.S. REE industry (from mined resources to finished products) stressed, exposed and struggling against the odds."
Christmas Cheer

Submission + - Perfect Xmas Gift: Computer Engineer Barbie

theodp writes: Over at CNET, Chris Matyszczyk says he has the perfect Xmas present in this year-of-the-Zuckerberg — Computer Engineer Barbie. 'This digital diva engineers the perfect geek-chic look,' explains Mattel, 'with hot pink accessories and sleek gadgets to match.' So, is this Mattel's way of atoning for Math-is-Hard Barbie and her undermining of girls' math scores?

Submission + - Oracle releases MySQL 5.5 (

darthcamaro writes: Two years after Sun released MySQL 5.1, Oracle has picked up the ball with the official release of MySQL 5.5. New features include semi-synchronous replication, InnoDB by default and new SIGNAL/RESIGNAL support for exception handling. Above all, Oracle stressed that they are comitted to further MySQL open source development and that they see it as a complentary technology to their proprietary Oracle database.

"MySQL 5.5 remains and future versions will remain, open source under the GPL license," Tomas Ulan, vice president of engineering for MySQL at Oracle said.


Submission + - Anesthetic gases more harmful than CO2

renewableenergywade writes: Anesthetic gases can actually be more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide, finds a study conducted by chemists from the University of Copenhagen and National Aeronautics and Space Administration in collaboration with anesthesiologists from the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study shows that 1 kilo of anesthetic gas affects the climate as much as 1,620 kilos of carbon dioxide. In fact, its global warming potential is as high as HFC-134a, a refrigerant that is on their way to be banned in the European Union.

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming