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Censorship

Australia Could Finally Get R18+ Games 143

angry tapir writes "Australia may finally get an adults only, R18+ classification for computer games, with the federal government releasing a discussion paper summarizing the key arguments for and against an R18+ classification. Submissions are currently being sought from the community on whether the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ category for computer and video games. In the past the board responsible for classifying games and movies has banned some titles outright because of the lack of an adults only classification — Aliens Vs. Predator is just the most recent in a long line. The Attorney-General's report on the issue is available online."
Google

Google Upgrades Chrome To Beta For OS X, Linux 197

wkurzius writes with this nugget from Mac Rumors: "As anticipated, Google has finally released an official beta version of its Chrome browser for Mac. The initial beta version, termed Build 4.0.249.30, requires Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard, and is only compatible with Intel-based Macs." And hierofalcon writes with word that Chrome has also been made available as an official Linux Beta.
Education

How Men and Women Badly Estimate Their Own Intelligence 928

theodp writes "In investigating the question of whether men are smarter than women, British researcher Adrian Furnham came up with some startling results. His analysis of some 30 studies showed that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ, but women underestimate their own intelligence while men overestimate theirs. Surprisingly, both men and women perceived men being smarter across generations — both sexes believe that their fathers are smarter than their mothers and their grandfathers are more intelligent than their grandmothers. And if there are children, both men and women think their sons are brighter than their daughters."
Education

SETI@home Project Responds To School Firing 295

SETIGuy writes "SETI@home Project Scientist Eric Korpela has responded to many of the allegations made by Higley Unified School District administrator Denise Birdwell regarding the difficulties caused by the installation of SETI@home, which led to the recent firing of the school's technology supervisor. One of the project's founders, David Gedye, takes issue with Dr. Birdwell's claim that 'an educational institution ... cannot support the search for E.T.' Meanwhile, the fired supervisor denies misusing school computers."
Google

Google Launches Public DNS Resolver 540

AdmiralXyz writes "Google has announced the launch of their free DNS resolution service, called Google Public DNS. According to their blog post, Google Public DNS uses continuous record prefetching to avoid cache misses — hopefully making the service faster — and implements a variety of techniques to block spoofing attempts. They also say that (unlike an increasing number of ISPs), Google Public DNS behaves exactly according to the DNS standard, and will not redirect you to advertising in the event of a failed lookup. Very cool, but of course there are questions about Google's true motivations behind knowing every site you visit."
The Courts

Psystar Crushed In Court 640

We've been following the case of Mac cloner Psystar for some time now. Apple was just handed a summary judgement over Psystar, and as usual Groklaw has the scoop. Here is the order (PDF), though PJ supplies it in text form at the link above. "Psystar just got what's coming to them in the California case. ... It's a total massacre. Psystar's first-sale defense went down in flames. Apple's motion for summary judgment on copyright infringement and DMCA violation is granted. Apple prevailed also on its motion to seal. Psystar's motion for summary judgment on trademark infringement and trade dress is denied. So is its illusory motion for copyright misuse. ... So that means damages ahead for Psystar on the copyright issues just decided on summary judgment, at a minimum. The court asked for briefs on that subject. In short, Psystar is toast." Reader UnknowingFool adds, "There are still issues to be decided but they are only Apple's allegations: breach of contract, induced breach of contract, trademark infringement, trademark dilution; trade dress infringement, state unfair competition, and common law unfair competition. Even if Psystar wins all of them, it is unlikely to help them very much."
The Internet

MPAA Shuts Down Town's Municipal WiFi Over 1 Download 323

nam37 writes with this BoingBoing snippet "The MPAA has successfully shut down an entire town's municipal WiFi because a single user was found to be downloading a copyrighted movie. Rather than being embarrassed by this gross example of collective punishment (a practice outlawed in the Geneva conventions) against Coshocton, OH, the MPAA's spokeslizard took the opportunity to cry poor (even though the studios are bringing in record box-office and aftermarket receipts)."
The Courts

Chicago Court Throwing Out LIDAR Speeding Tickets 245

bridgeco writes "Chicago Traffic Court Judges have been throwing out speeding cases in which the driver's speed was measured with a LIDAR. Judges are asking for a special 'Frye Hearing' to determine the accuracy of these devices. Many motorists nabbed for speeding by a laser gun, instead of radar, are seeing their tickets thrown out at Chicago's traffic court because of a legal issue that the city's law department has been unable to overcome. Within the past year judges in Cook County Traffic Court in Chicago determined that speeds captured by lidar were not admissible because the devices had not been proven scientifically reliable in an Illinois court, said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the law department, which prosecutes most speeding tickets in the city." (Here's some background on LIDAR from Wikipedia.)
Media

Tired of Flash? HTML5 Viewer For YouTube 372

An anonymous reader writes "Instead of spending the next 10 years trying to find a Flash implementation for Linux or OS X that doesn't drain CPU cycles like there's no tomorrow, NeoSmart Technologies has made an HTML5 viewer for YouTube videos. It loads YouTube videos in an HTML5 video container and streams (with skip/skim/pause/resume) against an MP4 resource, and an (optional) userscript file can update YouTube pages with the HTML5 viewer. The latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are supported. Personally, I can't wait until the major video sites default to HTML5 and we can finally say goodbye to Flash."
Democrats

Landmark Health Insurance Bill Passes House 1698

theodp writes "A hastily-crafted amendment imposing tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies helped pave the way for the House to approve the Democrats' bill to overhaul the nation's health insurance system. 'It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans,' said Rep. John Dingell. Rep. Candice Miller disagreed, calling the legislation 'a jobs-killing, tax-hiking, deficit-exploding' bill. The 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion legislation passed by a vote of 220-215 and moves on for Senate debate, which is expected to begin in several days." Update — 11/08 at 13:45 GMT by SS: Changed vote totals above to reflect the actual bill vote. The 240-194 number was for the abortion restrictions amendment.
Businesses

Cable Exec Suggests Changing Consumer Behavior, Not Business Model 675

Techdirt has pointed out yet another cable exec that just doesn't quite get it. Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, recently urged the TV industry to find ways to "get consumers to change" rather than figure out better methods to cater to demand. "'An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting.' How many consumers, in any market, are focused on 'respecting' vendors' revenue streams? How, exactly, does he propose to effect this sea change? And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"
GUI

Ubiquiti Announces RouterStation Challenge Winners 87

Riskable writes "Remember that $200,000 Contest For a Better Open-WRT Wireless Router GUI? Today Ubiquiti posted the winning entries to their support wiki. The grand prize was a tie between PyCI (written by yours truly) and NETSHe with OpenNET as the runner up. Source code and firmware images for each entry are available for download on their respective wiki pages. I'll be setting up a project page for PyCI (and l2sh) soon to make it a participatory open source product. Even if you don't have a RouterStation, or don't care about OpenWRT, there are numerous Python modules and tools inside of PyCI that could prove useful to other open source projects (e.g. iptables.py can read/interpret over 400 permutations of the iptables command). I'll also be checking the comments if anyone has any questions for me about PyCI or the contest in general. BTW: I'd like to thank all the commenters in the original article that insinuated that the technical requirements were impossible and/or that making a GUI to configure such complex things is a waste of time. I read every one and I wouldn't have made it such an obsession otherwise!"
The Internet

uTorrent To Build In Transfer-Throttling Ability 187

vintagepc writes "TorrentFreak reports that a redesign of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent allows clients to detect network congestion and automatically adjust the transfer rates, eliminating the interference with other Internet-enabled applications' traffic. In theory, the protocol senses congestion based on the time it takes for a packet to reach its destination, and by intelligent adjustments, should reduce network traffic without causing a major impact on download speeds and times. As said by Simon Morris (from TFA), 'The throttling that matters most is actually not so much the download but rather the upload – as bandwidth is normally much lower UP than DOWN, the up-link will almost always get congested before the down-link does.' Furthermore, the revision is designed to eliminate the need for ISPs to deal with problems caused by excessive BitTorrent traffic on their networks, thereby saving them money and support costs. Apparently, the v2.0b client using this protocol is already being used widely, and no major problems have been reported."
Transportation

What Happened To the Bay Bridge? 407

farnsworth writes "Tony Alfrey has put together a fascinating page with some history, analysis, and possible explanations for what ultimately went wrong with the recent emergency repair of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The bridge has been closed for days and is not scheduled to open for days to come, hugely inconveniencing more than 250,000 people a day. His analysis touches on possibly poor welding, a possibly flawed temporary fix, and the absence of a long-term fix or adequate follow-up by Caltrans, the agency responsible for the bridge. Slashdot is a great engineering community; what other insights do you have on the bridge situation?"
Media

BBC Planning To Launch Global iPlayer VoD Service 179

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC is reportedly mulling over plans to come up with an international edition of its hugely popular iPlayer service, in a bid to allow global audiences to catch up with some of its top shows, according to BBC Worldwide, the corporation's profit-making arm. BBC Worldwide said that the move would help revamp its business model, and thereby help the corporation in raking in significant profits through its premium content."

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