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The Internet

Submission + - An Inconvenient Distribtion: A Geek Tells Al Gore

Michael Eakes writes: "A web 2.0 geek sends a hand-written letter to Al Gore urging him to freely release his environmentally influential film on the internet (e.g., via BitTorrent): 'If the warnings in the film are correct, they are too important to be delayed by traditional and inefficient distribution methods. The current fee and copy protection are inappropriate. The film should be free (as in beer).'"

Submission + - The Troubling Duality of Electricity

marciot writes: "Having obtained a bachelor's degree in EE (and CS, which is now my field), I am disappointed that some basic aspects of electricity were glossed over in such a way that even today I wonder whether I really grasped the fundamentals. One particular aspect that bugs me is that electricity is presented as seemingly having two separate alter-egos. In the world of Van de Graff generators and doorknobs, electrons are content to flow from one charged object to another without care as to whether they will eventually find their way back. In the world of batteries and light bulbs, electricity, we are told, stubbornly refuses to flow unless there is a circuit which neatly forms a round trip. Well, which one is it? Lest you think the answer is simpler than it is, let me pose a question: suppose I have a AA cell and a quarter. Now, if I were to touch the quarter to the positive end, and then move it to the other end, and repeat this motion back and forth, would I eventually discharge the battery? One could say that I am confusing electrostatics with electrodynamics, but it seems to me that giving one phenomenon two different names and treating them separately only avoids a troubling question and keeps us from true understanding. Any thoughts?"

Submission + - What happened to Armadillo Aerospace?

Space cowboy wannabe writes: It seems like one of John Carmacs hover tests went horribly wrong!!

Warning: Can't connect to MySQL server on 'armadillo' (10061) in c:\web\k2\system\ext\phplib\php\ on line 77 Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in c:\web\k2\system\lib\ on line 2328

...The website has been dow for quite some time. Does anybody know how the project is doing?

Submission + - Keeping Hackers Interested In School

radiofreestl writes: "I teach computer classes at a high school. Next semester I will be doing an independent study with a kid who is pretty much a computer prodigy, but who is bored out of his mind at school and fails most of his classes. He just got caught hacking into the school network to change his grades. Ordinarily with these advanced kids I try to teach them programming and/or push them toward A+ certification, but this kid just won't put up with the drudgery of it. I also worry since he's so smart that he will outrun my usefulness to him very quickly and not get much out of our class. Ultimately I want to keep this kid from dropping out and turning into just another cracker. What do you suggest I do with this guy?"
The Internet

Submission + - RIAA Sues for 1.5 Trillion Dollars.

EonBlueApocalypse writes: "The Recording Industry Association of America, the legal arm of the United States music industry, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking more than one and a half trillion dollars in damages from" Also it's note worthy that Russia's GDP is 1.58 trillion dollars.

Submission + - Hard-drive intrusion law passed in Germany

pimpimpim writes: (in german) reports that in the german state Nordrhein Westfalen an "anti-terror" law has been passed that will allow the intrusion of personal hard-drives over the internet by law enforcement. Probably this will be done by the use of trojans, that are to be developed by "police hackers".

No political party performed any significant opposition against the law, it appears that only one single person will try to stop the law on grounds of being unconstitutional. This can only happen after the law has been officially published and added to the state laws.

It seems that the people of Nordrhein Westfalen got a Christmas present they'll never forget, it will probably not take long before the record and movie industry will start asking for court orders and stop the "copying terror". And who knows who will legally spy on your harddisk next.
The Internet

Submission + - Police consider Youtube effective against crime

Khalid writes: "The Canadian Press is reporting that after a 72-second surveillance tape was posted on Youtube, a suspect in a stabbing murder case has surrendered.

Consequently, police in Hamilton, Ontario say they now consider YouTube to be an effective crime-fighting tool.

From the article:
Police say the clip didn't lead to any witnesses coming forward, but the extra attention paid to the case because of the use of YouTube likely encouraged the suspect to turn himself in.
Hamilton police believe it's the first time law enforcement has used YouTube as a direct investigative tool.
Staff Sgt. Jorge Lasso, who made the decision to post the clip online, says the video had registered some 34,000 hits as of Thursday.

Submission + - Lawmaker's aide tries to hire hackers to jack GPA

netbuzz writes: "The communications director for Montana's lone congressman solicited the services of's "Lyger" and "Jericho," falsely believing them to be criminally minded hackers-for-hire — with the expressed goal of jacking up his college GPA — during an exchange that spanned 22 e-mails over two weeks this past summer.

"These are people misrepresenting themselves for a laugh," the aide complains."

Submission + - Machine can print books on demand within 7 minutes

An anonymous reader writes: om-on-demand-books-brews-you-up-a-copy-right-fres/ writes about a $50,000 machine that can print books on demand. It can print up to 550 pages and put a binding on the book in seven minutes. It will be debuting in a select number of U.S. libraries in 2007.

Submission + - Scientists Predict Big Solar Cycle

Greg Phillips writes: "Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 "looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. e24.htm?list964623"

Submission + - Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst?

An anonymous reader writes: In 2002, both KDE and GNOME released their last major revisions; KDE released KDE 3.0 on 3rd April, while GNOME followed shortly after with GNOME 2.0 on 27th June. For the Linux desktop, therefore, 2002 was an important year. Since then, we have continiously been fed point releases which added bits of functionaility and speed improvements, but no major revision has yet seen the light of day. What's going on?

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky