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Comment 'tofu' interconnect, a 6D Mesh/Toroid? (Score 1) 68

maybe someone with a more recent HPC CS degree can break down this interconnect/routing architecture to me? I loved playing on 3D toroidal meshes, especially on SIMD MasPars (communication penalty was 1 instruction cycle & we could select which processors would execute an instruction...from what I remember).

Are there any advantages to this topology for certain classes of problems (the MasPars were awesome for matrix math & image processing) ? Or is the sole advantage in routing speed/interconnect traversal?


RIAA's Tenenbaum Verdict Cut From $675k To $67.5k 253

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Court has reduced the jury's award from $675,000, or $22,500 per infringed work, to $67,500, or $2,250 per infringed work, on due process grounds, holding that the jury's award was unconstitutionally excessive. In a 64-page decision (PDF), District Judge Nancy Gertner ruled that the Gore, Campbell, and Williams line of cases was applicable to determining the constitutionality of statutory damages awards, that statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages, and that the usual statutory damages award in even more egregious commercial cases is from 2 to 6 times the actual damages. However, after concluding that the actual damages in this case were ~ $1 per infringed work, she entered a judgment for 2,250 times that amount. Go figure." That $2,250 per infringed work figure should look familiar from Jammie Thomas-Rassett's reduced damages judgment — $54,000 for 24 songs.
GNU is Not Unix

Can Employer Usurp Copyright On GPL-Derived Work? 504

An anonymous reader writes "I am a recent graduate, and I've been working on my own on a project that uses GPL-licensed libraries. Later a university department hired me, on a part-time basis, to develop this project into a solution that they needed. The project's size increased over time and soliciting help from the open source community seemed like the obvious thing to do. However, when I suggested this, my boss was not interested, and it was made clear to me that the department's position was that copyright of the whole thing belonged to them. Indeed, by default work created for an employer belongs to the employer, so I may have gotten myself in the same trap discussed here years ago. Even though I want to release my code to the public I don't know whether I have the legal right to do so. I did start the project on my own. And, since no written or verbal agreement was ever made to transfer copyright over to my employer, I question whether they can claim that they now own the extended version of the project. Also, the whole project relies on GPL libraries, and without those libraries it would be useless. Can they still claim copyright and prevent me from publishing the source code even though it is derived from GPL software?" Some early commenters on the submission pointed out that it matters whether the libraries were licensed under the LGPL vs. the GPL.
Input Devices

Sony Develops a Universal Game Console Controller 62

Go Rumors has discovered that Sony recently applied for a patent on a "universal game console controller." According to the patent filing, the controller "includes a hand-holdable housing and a touch sensitive liquid crystal display (LCD) on the housing. The LCD is caused to present, depending on what type of game console a user has selected, a controller key layout for a first type of game console or a controller key layout for a second type of game console. A key layout includes plural keys selectable by a user to input commands to a game console."

Feed Techdirt: That Story About Warner Music Paying For A Rappers' PhD? Well... Not So Much (

We keep seeing claims by newspaper people that bloggers don't fact check and that newspapers do. In fact, in a recent discussion, Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi seemed to blast bloggers for not being able to live without newspaper reporter fact checking:

"I can't imagine a world (or an internet) without the raw factual material that newspapers provide every day, but I guess the bloggers don't really care about any of that. They're mostly about themselves and their opinions, with little thought given to where they're getting their basic facts."
Fair enough. But, as we keep finding out, it seems that newspapers aren't all that concerned about where they get their "facts," either. And sometimes we "bloggers," who are mostly about ourselves and our opinions, have to step in and do some fact checking ourselves.

Case in point: last week, I wrote a post here on Techdirt about how Warner Music helped a famous 80's rapper get a PhD in psychology. The post was based on an article in the NY Daily News by Walter Dawkins. It seemed reasonable to assume that such a professional news organization had fact checked the story. Yet, even before I hit publish, some questions were raised. The article noted that she had received her PhD in psychology from Cornell -- my alma mater. And when I wrote the post up, I initially mentioned that fact (school pride is fun). Yet when I asked some people I know who also went through Cornell's psychology program and would have likely been in a position to have known (or known of) Roxanne Shante, I was told that they hadn't heard of her. Also, multiple attempts to find her dissertation in databases like PsychInfo turned up nothing. Oh yeah, and then there's this: Cornell doesn't offer a clinical psychology degree, and the article clearly states that her work is in clinical psychology.

So, I went searching, and found (first) a video interview where she claimed to have attended Cornell Medical -- which is still Cornell, but is a separate organization based in New York City, rather than up in Ithaca with the rest of the school. So... perhaps her degree was from there. But, then I came across another report claiming that she only got her masters at Cornell, and then returned to Marymount Manhattan College -- where she went as an undergrad -- for the PhD.

I thought that this made some amount of sense, and let the post go out. I figured that perhaps the Daily News reporter got confused about where she got her PhD, but he must have at least fact checked the rest? I should have known better.

After the post went up, some additional comments came in highlighting some other problems with her story, and so I decided to do some of the fact checking it appeared that the big professional reporters at The Daily News did not do. I contacted the administration at Cornell, and received the following response:

We've had everyone from the Graduate School to Alumni Affairs and Development to the Psychology Department search their databases, using every possible configuration of her names, and no one has found any evidence that Ms. Shante ever attended Cornell University.
Oops. Still, others pointed out that there were two references in two separate publications, The Cornell Chronicle and The Cornell Daily Sun, both to a conference held on campus that Shante took part in, though both seemed to be based on her own statements. The Daily Sun is independent of the university (though run by students), but the Chronicle is an official school publication. It's quite telling that the Chronicle article does not follow the established style guidelines of Cornell official publications in referring to an alum: it does not provide a year. It's typical to say things like "Ph.D. '08." That's done for others in that same article. But Shante's Ph.D. claim is not accompanied by a date, suggesting that the reporter was unable to confirm it. There's also an odd list of "Notable Cornell alum" that lists her, but the link is for "Class of '91," which she certainly didn't attend. Also, once again, her listing doesn't include a date.

From there, I contacted the administration at Marymount Manhattan College, and specifically contacted Dean Marguerita Grecco, who is named in the original Daily News article as supporting Ms. Shante, and sending the tuition bills to Warner Music. Despite multiple attempts to reach Dr. Grecco, she refused to respond at all. However, I was able to get a rather curt response from someone else in the administration, claiming that the only information he would give me is: "Roxanne Shante attended classes at Marymount Manhattan College during the fall semester of 1995." That did not answer my questions about what degree(s) she obtained (if any), and only seems to raise more questions. Did she attend classes there beyond that one semester? The school won't say.

Oh yeah, it's worth mentioning: Marymount Manhtattan College does not offer a PhD program in psychology. Only a bachelors.

So, the original article claimed that Warner Music spent over $200,000 on this woman's education. I reached out to Warner Music to ask them who they sent that money to. Admittedly, all of this happened back in the '90s, when Warner Music was owned by Time Warner. It no longer is. It's got new ownership and new management. Yet, despite the fact that folks at Warner Music aren't particularly big fans of this site (I have no clue why), they went digging through all sorts of records to see what they could turn up. From that, they sent over the following statement:

"Roxanne Shante's story is a compelling one and we wish her all success in her good works. With respect to the specifics of her recording agreement, we are not in a position to comment definitively because her agreement was with an independent record label known as Cold Chillin' Records, and the transactional file is more than 20 years old. Our examination of that file however has not revealed any evidence of any 'education clause' in any agreement. That is not a commentary on Ms. Shante's label or on the existence of such a clause. In fact, our view is that artists' compensation can be put to many good uses; if Cold Chillin' guided this artist's compensation to education expenses that would certainly be a worthy one."
So, even if there was an "education clause," Warner Music can't find any record of it. Instead, it appeared to just have a rather typical distribution deal with an indie label that she was signed to. Next up, the article claims that Shante is running "an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans." Unfortunately, searches of the NY database of such professionals has yet to turn up any evidence that she's listed. Admittedly, the interface for that system is not particularly user friendly, but various attempts to find her under various names (both her stage name and her birth name) turned up nothing. In searching around, I could find no business listing for her therapy organization.

Also, I could not find ways to contact her. I did try via a MySpace page that is supposedly hers, but it's not clear if it's really her page, and I have not heard back. Finally, I contacted the NY Daily News, and asked either for additional backup material, an explanation, or to let me speak with the original reporter, Walter Dawkins. As of publishing this, I have not heard from either of them.

I should note that this is yet another great example of how wonderful the Techdirt community is. It was via the comments that many of these questions were raised, and it allowed me to go in search of the details (or lack thereof). I've said before that what makes this site so much fun is the discussion we have in the comments, and this is yet another bit of proof. Update: Looks like friend of the blog Ben Sheffner was doing similar research over the past few days as well, and got Shante to admit the PhD doesn't exist, but she fails to explain pretty much anything else.

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Musician Lobby Terms Balanced Copyright "Disgusting" 319

An anonymous reader writes "While most of the attention at Thursday's Canadian copyright town hall was on the recording industry's strategy to pack the room and exclude alternate voices, the most controversial activity took place outside the hall. It has now been revealed that security guards threatened students and a Member of Parliament for distributing leaflets, and the American Federation of Musicians termed the MP's leaflet, which called for balanced copyright, 'disgusting' and demanded a retraction and apology. At this point, such an admission seems unlikely."
The Internet

Submission + - OpenBitTorrent, a DMCA-Resistant Torrent Tracker (

rm writes: "There seemed to be no open, independent and stable BitTorrent trackers out there, so some hackers decided to create OpenBitTorrent, a free for anyone to use and (supposedly) a stable tracker. As a nice bonus, since the new tracker does not know or care what it is tracking, it is very likely to be completely immune to DMCA takedown requests: the authors make it very clear that they do not host or index for searching the content or any torrent files, do not keep logs of downloaders' IP addresses and can not block any files from being distributed using their tracker. Also, it looks like ThePirateBay has recently started to use OpenBitTorrent as a secondary tracker for all its torrents."

Linguistic Clue Pushes Back Origin of "World's Oldest Computer" 141

Calopteryx points out a piece at New Scientist which suggests that the Antikythera mechanism may be even older than previously thought; an ancient Greek word on of the device's dials suggests the device may date to the early second century BC. The article is accompanied by a great animation of its (deduced) workings, too.
The Courts

Lori Drew Trial Results In 3 Misdemeanor Convictions 568

grassy_knoll writes "As a follow up to an earlier story, the Lori Drew 'cyber-bullying' trial has resulted in misdemeanor convictions." grassy_knoll quotes from the AP story as carried by Salon: "The Los Angeles federal court jury on Wednesday rejected felony charges of accessing a computer without authorization to inflict emotional distress on young Megan Meier. However, the jury found defendant Lori Drew guilty of three counts of the lesser offense of accessing a computer without authorization. The jurors could not reach a verdict on a conspiracy count. Prosecutors said Drew violated the MySpace terms of service by conspiring with her young daughter and a business assistant to create a fictitious profile of a teen boy on the MySpace social networking site to harass Megan. Megan, who had been treated for depression, hanged herself in 2006 after receiving a message saying the world would be better without her." Adds reader gillbates: "She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines — a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."

Submission + - Google mobiles to make February debut? (

SpinelessJelly writes: "It appears that Google's Android, criticised by Microsoft as vaporware, has sprung to life. Prototype devices are circulating, software developers are experimenting with the SDK and PC-based Android emulator, and there are rumours of a show-stopping debut at February's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Numerous examples of the Android GUI are also starting to leak out."
United States

U.S. Attorney General Resigns 845

willie3204 is one of many to mention that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned. One of Gonzales' main opponents praised his decision stating that: "'For the previous six months, the Justice Department has been virtually nonfunctional and desperately needs new leadership,' said the Schumer statement. 'Democrats will not obstruct or impede a nominee who we are confident will put the rule of law above political considerations. We beseech the Administration to work with us to nominate someone whom Democrats can support and America can be proud of.'"

Submission + - Is wireless sound via A2DP any good? (

ben81 writes: "More and more mobile phones claim to be an alternative to old school MP3 players. But almost none of them offers a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Available adapters (from Sony Ericsson for example) unnecessarily extend the headphone cord and are a clumsy solution. New MP3 phones however offer A2DP, a Bluetooth profile for sending stereo sound to headphones. Is this solution in any way reliable (connection stability) and is the sound quality in any way comparable to the one corded headphones deliver? Are there any recommendable phone/BT-headphone combos?"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - A surefire way to get funding for green IT project (

An anonymous reader writes: Green may be fashionable, but it's also a hard sell, unless you know this magic way to calculate ROI. As soon as you mention buying green gear to the company's purse holders, they'll ask how long until the project pays for itself. If you use typical ROI methods to answer, they'll tell you to go jump in a lake. (Sounds good, if your company's carbon footprint wasn't making the lake toxic.) The way to sell green projects is with a calculation called the "argument of avoided production." It shows that for every dollar saved on energy, your company can generate up to $100 less in revenues (or drop up to 10% to the bottom line). ng-green-it-projects.html

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