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The Courts

Submission + - RIAA assessed $107,834 in attorneys fees (blogspot.com) 2

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Tanya Andersen, the disabled single mom from Oregon who's been fighting the RIAA since 2005, has just been awarded $107,834 in attorneys fees against the record companies. This eclipses the $68,685 awarded in Capitol v. Foster and will no doubt inspire many more RIAA targets to fight back, and encourage many more lawyers to take these cases on. Jon Newton of p2pnet.net, who has been covering the Tanya Andersen case from Day 1, writes that "RIAA nemesis Tanya Andersen has achieved another milestone victory. She fought Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG's RIAA to a standstill, forcing it to drop its spurious file sharing case against her, and now an Oregon court has awarded her close to $108,000 in fees and costs.....[L]awyers representing RIAA victims....[wi]ll be able to proceed with counterclaims bolstered by the knowledge they'll be paid their work.""

Submission + - Google shut-down FacebookSecrets

reube writes: Google has shut down FacebookSecrets, the blog that posted the accidentally released source code for the Facebook main index page. A new FacebookSecrets blog emerged but for totally different purpose.

Submission + - Mars Phoenix Spacecraft Corrects Course (space.com)

Raver32 writes: "NASA's Mars-bound Phoenix lander completed its first and biggest course correction planned during the spacecraft's journey. The second of the remaining five planned adjustments prior to landing is scheduled for mid-October. "These first two together take out the bias intentionally put in at launch," said Brian Portock, Phoenix navigation team chief at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Phoenix blasted off Earth aboard a Delta 2 rocket on Aug. 4 and now careens through space at 74,200 mph (33,180 meters per second)-a speed necessary to cover the 422 millions miles (679 million kilometers) between Earth and Mars by May 25, 2008."

Submission + - Locating an earthquake in 5 minutes

Roland Piquepaille writes: "When a powerful earthquake hit Indonesia's West Java on August 8, 2007, it took exactly 4 minutes and 38 seconds to be detected, located and sized by the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) currently under construction in Indonesia. Even more remarkable, the location of the earthquake was found after only 2 minutes and 11 seconds. 'For comparison, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii published the location and magnitude of this earthquake after about 17 minutes.' This very fast analysis was made possible by a combination of hardware and software developed in Germany. As said one German scientist who is leading the project, 'By the end of 2008 Indonesia will possess the most modern seismological network for tsunami early warning in the world.' Read more for additional references and an illustration showing the various GITEWS wireless components."

Submission + - Baby Einstein Not So...Einsteinian? (time.com)

Derek Hudson writes: "A research team at the University of Washington has discovered that simply plopping Junior down in front of the boob-tube and letting him suck up learnin' from a video may not be the best for his little mind; in fact, it may actually impede development. Although the article over at Time isn't kind to baby videos in general, The Baby Einstein videos have been specifically implicated in delaying vocabulary development in children 8-16 months old. In the words of Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who lead the study, "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew..." and, according to the LA Times Article, he "would rather babies watch 'American Idol' than these videos..." Ouch.

The article; however, doesn't mention whether or not the videos affect the youngins' grasp of theoretical physics."


Submission + - Bad Movie Physics Hurt Scientific Understanding (physorg.com)

eldavojohn writes: "A paper published by UCF researchers claims that bad movie physics hurt students' understanding of real world physics. From the article, "Some people really do believe a bus traveling 70 mph can clear a 50-foot gap in a freeway, as depicted in the movie Speed." The professors published this paper out of fear that society will pay the price. One of the authors commented on advancements in the past years "All the luxuries we have today, the modern conveniences, are a result of the science research that went on in the '60s during the space race. It didn't just happen. It took people doing hard science to do it." I commented on the physics of the most recent Die Hard having problems detracting from my enjoyment of the movie but is it really the root of a growing problem of poor science & math among students?"

Submission + - Is your banking web site really secure?

Ganghiss writes: When I registered for web access to a bank site for the first time I wondered why they restricted the password length to 6-8 alpha-numeric characters. Recently, on another bank web site I found they too limited password lengths to 6-8 alpha-numeric characters. I have noticed a few bank sites allowing a maximum password of 12 or even 16 characters but, I have yet to see any that allow for other characters (like punctuations). In a time of rampant identity theft, credit scams, etc. shouldn't security for financial institutions be a major priority? Even if a banking site uses https, is it really protecting our assets with short 6-8 character passwords limited to using ten numerals and 26 letters? As a customer I can send in my concerns to a financial institution's security practices but, how well one voice is heard will always be an issue. Are there any groups or organizations out there that are speaking out to financial institutions about these security issues?

Submission + - Ruby 1.9 to gain huge performance boosts (smyck.de)

hukl writes: "Everyone knows that Ruby is a neat language but it is also very slow compared to almost every other language. This is about to change dramatically. Half a year ago the ruby developers merged YARV (Yet Another Ruby VM) into the Ruby 1.9 source. YARV is a new bytecode interpreter which boosts the execution time of Ruby programs. It is 2-10 times faster than the Ruby 1.8 interpreter. But it also beats languages like Perl and Python.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine ran a couple of micro benchmarks against every language he came across. The result was always the same — Ruby was the slowest by far. Addition, multiplication, function calls — Ruby lost in all of these disciplines. Now with the current 1.9 version I ran these tests again and it turned out that Ruby was faster than Perl and Python, which were far ahead by the time my friend benchmarked those languages.

Ruby 1.9 is supposed to be released on christmas 2007. This is good news for all those Ruby people — and especially the Rails community."


Submission + - DirecTV to Offer Internet Over Power Lines (seekingalpha.com)

sonsonete writes: "Satellite-television provider DirecTV has plans to offer high-speed Internet service carried over electric power lines.

According to the Wall Street Journal under the agreement, which is expected to be signed today, DirecTV will market a bundled package of Current's broadband and VOIP services under the DirecTV brand.... According to the report, DirecTV has yet to determine pricing, but says TV, Internet and phone services packages will be competitive with those offered by phone companies.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Highly reliable voting machines. NOT!!

An anonymous reader writes: Wired (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/08/dan-rath er-inve.html) is reporting that a Dan Rather report to be aired tonight will say that ES&S voting machines are manufactured in a sweatshop in the Phillipines with little attention to quality control.

"According to the program, ES&S contracts the production of its voting machines to two companies. The touch-screens themselves are made in the U.S. by Minnesota-based Bergquist before they're sent to Manila to be assembled with other parts made in Taiwan and Mainland China at Teletech (above and below right), a sweatshop factory that is connected to Pivot International. The latter is a contract engineering firm based in Kansas that is controlled by the Ching family, a Filipino family with "strong connections in top political circles" that has been investigated for suspect business practices and possible tax evasion, Rather reports."

"Filipino workers in the Teletech sweatshop told Rather's producers that they rushed production of the ES&S machines to meet quotas and that the only testing they conducted on machines was a "vibration" test — which involved shaking the machines by hand (presumably to determine if there were any loose parts inside). Even then, only a fraction of the machines underwent this crude test."

Any wonder that situations like Sarasota happen?

Submission + - Irrational No More, What's In a Name? (gamerswithjobs.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Cory Banks at Gamers With Jobs has an interesting look at Irrational Games becoming "2K Boston" and "2K Australia" on the eve of the Bioshock release. It's not just about 2K and Irrational, publishers re-naming independents to generic studio names has obviously been going on for a long time. "Rockstar Games is often credited with the Grand Theft Auto series, but the games were developed by Scottish developer DMA Designs, who were bought by Rockstar in 2002, shortly after GTA III came out, and quickly renamed Rockstar North to build up the brand recognition associated with the mega-blockbuster. Rockstar isn't even a development company at all, but a collection of development studios owned by Take-Two, sharing one brand name. The general public hardly knows the difference."

Submission + - Nokia to replace 43 Million Batteries (bbc.co.uk)

mysqlbytes writes: According to a recent post on the BBC's website, Nokia has admitted to a problem in the BL-5C batteries made by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006. For some of us, it means longer battery life with a new lease of life. And for some of us, no more burnt legs :) See the article here, and you can check out the product advisory here: https://www.nokia.com/batteryreplacement/en/
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Sierra dropping Tribes multiplayer support

Interl0per writes: A number of sites have been reporting recently on the quiet announcement Sierra has made that they will no longer provide multiplayer support for a number of titles, including the venerable and influential Starsiege:Tribes. A number of people already host or are voluteering to host a third party master server. There is some ongoing discussion among the community as to how to effectively distribute the new master server info for those who wish to continue playing online.

Submission + - Extend the Eclipse SDK with Mylyn 2.0 (ibm.com)

BlueVoodoo writes: "Now in release 2.0, Mylyn (formerly called Mylar) enhances productivity by seamlessly integrating tasks into Eclipse and automatically managing the context of those tasks as you work. Part 1 introduces Mylyn's task management facilities and integration with repositories such as Bugzilla, Trac, and JIRA. You'll learn how context management eases multitasking and reduces information overload in Part 2."

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