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Comment Re:Do not want (Score 4, Informative) 114

While I agree with your sentiment about doctors (after all, their expertise is medical (chemistry, bio), not technical). However, I am betting that your comment about hospital info security is borne from not having worked in such an environment.

Having run the IT side of a hospital's foundation, and having to interface with their network security, I can say that most definitely they are very competent with data security. Now mind you, this is in Canada -- but I doubt the competent sys admins are only born north of the border.

Hospitals (and the several sys admins I have known that run them) are very much on top of their game -- even the the point of being a pain in the ass to work with (which is both good and bad). Many doctors and nurses absolutely hated the arcane network security protocols in place, but they worked, and the hospital network maintained triple-9 uptime.

Take my anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, but from my experience, hospital networks are QUITE secure.

Comment Could this be the disconnect? (Score 3, Insightful) 395

So often I have heard the internet meme that American soldiers (or soldiers of a western "civilized" country would not turn their weapons on their own people. Indeed, it is hard enough for them to do so to an Iraqi whom they still perceive as "human". However through indoctrination, and a process of dehumanizing the enemy, many Iraqis have died. Well, what happens if the next stage in de-humanizing comes not from propaghanda (which is not infalliable) but from a physical disconnect from targets.

Think about it... It is much easier for a sharp shooter to take out a target at a thousand yards then it is for someone to execute someone at point-blank. It is much easier for a remote drone to drop a bomb than a fighter-pilot to do so.

It is much easier for a robot controlled by a human operator to fire on civilians than an armed soldier, even if the civilian is a thousand yards away....


Submission + - AT&T Censors Pearl Jam's Anti-Bush Lyrics (forbes.com)

VE3OGG writes: "Numerous news agencies are reporting that Pearl Jam's recent Lollapalooza concert has met with some controversy. According to the news reports, when Eddie Vedder sang: "George Bush leave this world alone. George Bush find yourself another home." AT&T censored the lyrics on its webcast. AT&T has said that this was an accident on the part of Davie-Brown Entertainment and should never have happened as it is against their policies of editing political messages out of webcasts and has posted an apology and is taking steps to publish the songs in their entirety on its Blue Room website, however Pearl Jam has gone on record as saying "AT&T's actions strikes at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.""

Submission + - Man Bleeds Green Like Vulcan (11alive.com)

VE3OGG writes: "While Star Wars might be overtaking Harvard, an individual at Vancouver, British Columbia's St. Paul's Hospital was re-enacting Star Trek, by bleeding green like a Vulcan. The condition, know as sulfhemoglobin "[is] so rare that we don't have a perfect understanding how it happens, but some drug donates a sulphur group that binds to the hemoglobin molecule and prevents it from binding to oxygen," Flexman explains. "And that gives it the green colour." Of course, this isn't quite Vulcan anatomy 101, as it was a copper bonding agent in the Vulcan's blood that caused it's greenish hue."

Submission + - The Long-Term Effects of Intellectual Property?

Ivo Shandor writes: "In the last several years there has been gold fever among many companies seeking to stake their claim in the intellectual property gold fields. Software patents have accounted for numerous frivolous patents including everything from a mouse pointer, to one-click shopping (and many various activities that can be linked to it) all the way to patching software. Media groups are locking down their media and associated hardware to prevent any form of tampering or investigation or learning. Entertainment cartels are desperately running out of fingers trying to plug the countless cracks forming in the dam. Books and textbooks have gone from fountains of knowledge to "Best Before Next Semester". Pharmaceuticals aren't safe either, with synthetic life forms and cancer genes being patented. Our own genes have even left our control. But perhaps most worrying is that the government is complacent with it. What does the SLashdot crowd think will ultimately come from locking up every form of art and science in a blackbox that may never open once it is closed?

Dawn your tin-foil for a rollercoaster ride of thought experiments.

It has been said many times on Slashdot that with the latest round of shockingly silly patents: "Maybe this will get Congress to move forward on patent reform!" Everytime, however, the results are the same: things stay the same, or if certain recent legislation goes through, they may well get worse.

Others have said that it will be the rest of the world that ultimately decides. Europe, Russia, the Middle East, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada will finally stand up and make the American government recognize that certain concepts regarding the patent system are outdated at best, and downright criminal at worst. However, with each new step, the world begins to toe the line. Canada has "vowed" to help stop movie piracy, Russia has acted against AllofMP3 and charged individuals with using pirated copies of Microsoft products, Hong Kong and China have acted (again, albeit superficially) against piracy, and it is still an uncertain fate that software patents will hold in the European Union.

Still others have said that the situation isn't so bad, that eventually these patents will expire. To that, one can only say, look at history and tell us that any patent will expire in our lifetimes. In our children's? Grandchildren's? Ancestors?

What I have not seen much of, however, is the thought that the realm of intellectual property may not go away. In fact, it may intensify to include anything that a patent can be applied to irrespective of prior art, to the point that "if you can think of it, you can patent it".

Such a system would ultimately have many deterious effects on the world, but two stick out as far outstripping anything else: first, competition will not only be stiffled, it will be wiped out. No individual could offer a product and/or service without having to pay lawyers untold sums to try and discover if their product might infringe on another's patent. Even then, there would still be the possibility of some large corporation taking you to court because they beleive your patent is "like theirs". So, ultimately, competition in the marketplace would begin to subside in its entirety.

The second problem, is even more worrisome: the current list of companies in action would begin to dwindle. Even companies holding long lists of patents might well find them at the mercy of a larger and more powerful company that offers them a choice: assimilate or be destroyed.

At this point, the marketplace would likely be comprised of little more than a handful of multinationals.

There are, of course, those who might say that this would merely facilitate the crumbling of the American Empire, as Rome saw so long ago. The inherent problem with such a conclusion is that these companies no longer rely solely on the local or even national marketplace. They are positioned in every country in the world, so if one falls, profits drop marginally, and they are recouped in other markets. There is no incentive to keep any one system stable.

So, what does the Slashdot crowd think? What will ultimately become of the realm of intellectual property? How far will an intangible product carry us in this new century?"

Submission + - Iran Claims Launch of First Space Rocket

chris_bloke writes: "Iranian Students News Agency appears to be claiming that Iran has successfully launched its first space rocket. This claim is being reported in English by Radio Javan and now the Interational Herald Tribune. Sadly the Iranian Space Agency's English Language website is very much under construction and the News link doesn't work (and neither do most of the others)."

A Second Google Desktop Vulnerability 80

zakkie writes "According to InfoWorld, Google's Desktop indexing engine is vulnerable to an exploit (the second such flaw to be found) that could allow crackers to read files or execute code. By exploiting a cross-site scripting vulnerability on google.com, an attacker can grab all the data off a Google Desktop. Google is said to be investigating. A security researcher is quoted: 'The users really have very little ability to protect themselves against these attacks. It's very bad. Even the experts are afraid to click on each other's links anymore.'"

Submission + - Microsoft loses Fraunhofer lawsuit

bunder writes: "The Associated Press SEATTLE (Feb 24, 2007) A U.S. federal jury's ruling that Microsoft infringed on two MP3 patents and must pay $1.52- billion US in damages could turn into a major sour note for other technology companies in the digital music business. The victory for France's Alcatel-Lucent SA could embolden the telecommunications equipment maker to pursue claims — or seek royalties — from other companies that it believes infringe on the technology, experts said yesterday. The two patents in question cover the encoding and decoding of audio into the digital MP3 format — a popular way to convert music from a CD into a lightweight file on a personal computer and vice versa. Microsoft said it paid for the technology from Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute, which licences it to hundreds of companies, including Apple Inc. and RealNetworks Inc. When the software maker decided to add MP3 decoding and encoding capabilities to its Windows Media Player, it paid Fraunhofer $16-million US for the relevant intellectual property licences and source code."

Submission + - New technology could pave the way for 3-D printers

nomoreself writes: "According to a story over on Physics Web, a team of scientists in Jerusalem have come up with a method for creating self-assembling 3-dimensional models from a single sheet of paper. The "Chemical origami" is created by etching a pattern of monomer onto the paper, then heating it. The chemical's reaction to the heat causes bends of varying size in the paper, molding the sheet into the patterned model. A professor in the States with no apparent ties to the study whatsoever says in the article that the technique could be used to create self-assembling prototypes, or even a printer that prints 3-D objects."

Submission + - Compressed Air Powered Car Ready This Year

chaos_syndicate writes: A French designer of engines for Formula One racing cars has turned his attention to creating an engine that runs on, and emits, only air! By all accounts, this is no pie-in-the-sky dream invention either — as the vehicle's release is slated for later this year. http://www.celsias.com/blog/2007/02/23/air-car-tan talisingly-close/?needsbetterheadline

Submission + - Patent row could hit MP3 industry

w1z4rd writes: "The BBC Reports "News that Microsoft has been fined for violating MP3 patents belonging to Alcatel-Lucent could have widespread fallout for the industry. Experts now suggest the US ruling could lead to hundreds of firms — including Apple and RealNetworks — being pursued for payments relating to the format. "Any of the companies that have licensed and implemented that technology have to have great concern about this verdict," said Microsoft vice president Thomas W Burt. And it seems the Federal District Court in San Diego agrees — it ordered Microsoft to pay Alcatel $1.52bn, an award both companies say is the largest patent award in history.""
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - What geek toys do you want for your PC?

networkBoy writes: "Some mates and I are thinking of starting a business making computer accessories.
Nothing quite so off the wall as the nuclear launch console for your PC, more along the lines of smart fan controllers (to produce as little noise as required to achieve a setpoint temperature) with USB or SMBus interfacing for setup, possibly upwards of small embedded systems that can control drives and host them as NFS/SMB shares ala low-end server appliance.
We want to be tinkerer friendly (JTAG accessible, Linux based) and hope to make money solely on the hardware and low level firmware side. What kinds of subsystem accessories does the /. crowd want to enhance the reliability and coolness factor of their PCs? What is the magic price point for your favorite accessory? What about an automotive pc in a form factor that would fit in an industry standard radio bay?"

One Desktop per Child - miniPCs for Schools? 72

gwjenkins asks: "I'm a teacher in charge of IT in a small school. We would like to bust out of the computer lab model but don't want a trolley of laptops wheeled from class to class. I've drooled over wi-fi PDAs but just can't afford a set for class (and the batteries drain too fast). In a classroom, space is at a premium and teachers won't use a technology that takes too long to set up. Most of the time the kids are just researching (Google), or typing (Google Docs), the rest of the time they can go to a lab. I would love to have a desk-based solution. Can you run a wi-fi mini-pc (sitting under the desk) from a 12-volt rechargeable battery (also sitting under the desk) with a 7" LCD (sitting on the desk), that boots from flash card into FireFox? No wires! No setup time! Has anyone done this? How? Alternatively can anyone say why this is silly?"

Submission + - When security firms merge, some users are losers

taoman1 writes: ""When one security vendor merges with another or is acquired by a larger IT provider, the parties involved always tout the benefits customers can expect — better help desk services, a wider array of management tools and the tighter integration of security into the larger infrastructure. Unfortunately for some users, those benefits don't always materialize.""

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The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr