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For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution 626

An anonymous reader writes "The Texas Board of Education has unanimously come down on the side of evolution. In an 8-0 vote, the board today approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers — and did not approve the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC."

Translator Puts Us Closer To Dolphin Communication 179

LordStormes sent in a link to an article about a new device that may allow dolphins to finally thank us for all the fish. Denise Herzing, founder of the Wild Dolphin Project and Thad Starner, an artificial intelligence researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, have been working on a project called Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry or CHAT. The pair hope that CHAT will allow them to "co-create" a language with wild dolphins, allowing the two species to communicate. From the article: "Herzing and Starner will start testing the system on wild Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) in the middle of this year. At first, divers will play back one of eight 'words' coined by the team to mean 'seaweed' or 'bow wave ride,' for example. The software will listen to see if the dolphins mimic them. Once the system can recognize these mimicked words, the idea is to use it to crack a much harder problem: listening to natural dolphin sounds and pulling out salient features that may be the 'fundamental units' of dolphin communication."
Open Source

Use Open Source? Then You're a Pirate! 650

superapecommando writes "There's a fantastic little story in the Guardian today that says a US lobby group is trying to get the US government to consider open source as the equivalent to piracy. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), an umbrella group for American publishing, software, film, television and music associations, has asked the US Trade Representative (USTR) to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil, and India for its 'Special 301 watchlist' because they encourage the use of open source software. A Special 301, according to Guardian's Bobbie Johnson is: 'a report that examines the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" around the planet — effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure — often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods — to try and force governments to change their behaviors.'"

Using Aluminum Oxide Paint To Secure Wi-Fi 271

eldavojohn writes "The BBC reports on people using aluminum oxide in their paint to block Wi-Fi signals from leaving their home or business. Aluminum oxide resonates at the same frequency as Wi-Fi signals and other radio waves, blocking data from going outside a building. It's not a flawless solution, as it may also block AM/FM signals. You or your neighbors may be unwittingly using this already, as most pre-finished wood flooring uses aluminum oxide as a protective coating."

Microsoft Patents the Crippling of Operating Systems 394

theodp writes "On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,536,726 (it was filed in 2005) for intentionally crippling the functionality of an operating system by 'making selected portions and functionality of the operating system unavailable to the user or by limiting the user's ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer' until an 'agreed upon sum of money' is paid to 'unlock or otherwise make available the restricted functionality.' According to Microsoft, this solves a 'problem inherent in open architecture systems,' i.e., 'they are generally licensed with complete use rights and/or functionality that may be beyond the need or desire of the system purchaser.' An additional problem with open architecture systems, Microsoft explains, is that 'virtually anyone can write an application that can be executed on the system.' Nice to see the USPTO rewarding Microsoft's eight problem-solving inventors, including Linux killer (and antelope killer) Joachim Kempin, who's been credited with getting Microsoft hauled into federal court on antitrust charges." Sounds like the mechanism by which Microsoft sells one version of Vista to all users, and lets users upgrade to higher-tier flavors of the OS after cash changes hands.

Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation 425

Penguinisto writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand their Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to 'Shared Source') interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community." (We mentioned the announced support for the Apache Foundation earlier today, as well.)

Submission + - MMO Community Manager announces Alpha Contest ( 1

John "Mrxknown" McMahon writes: "In IRC chat hosted by Stratics IRC Network, Community Manager Nicole "Awenyddion" Hamlett stated "Here is the deal — If you can get us front page coverage on either Penny Arcade or Slashdot will get an alpha slot AND a t-shirt." The fans in the room went buzzing. Challenges for slots in the Closed Beta are usual in the IRC channel. But this was something truly different.

From Rainbow Hair contests that had community members take photos of two developers and brighten their lives to the recent Screenshot Story Contest that allowed fans to write a story based on a screenshot of the game.

Ms. Hamlett, a former writer for a gaming news site, even stated, "I will [give] an alpha slot and a t-shirt to the person who can get one or both done. Actually if one does PA and the other does /. then 2 will win."

Jumpgate Evolution is a successor of a game called "Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative". Published in the US by 3DO in 2001 and by Mightygames in EU. Both games allow gamers to fly space ships using a mouse and keyboard, but for the truly skilled, they will use various joysticks.

Jumpgate Evolution separates itself from its parent by having more robust AI, separate Player versus Player and Player versus Environment servers, different ships of the same class, better graphics, and uses vibrant colors to shrine light in the darkness of space. Jumpgate Evolution also retains the rich, colorful universe of its predecessor and the open-world exploration that made many players thrilled to explore areas of space not protected by game mechanics.

If you are interested in Jumpgate Evolution and would like to know more, go to"

The Internet

Journal Journal: BitTorrent goes Legit!

I'm surprised /. didn't have this on the frontpage sooner, but I am pleased to announce that BitTorrent is going legit! The Canadian Broadcasting Company (Canada's public TV station) used the popular p2p program to distribute the finale of a popular Canadian program, Canada's Next Great Prime Minister.
And I had to get this from the BBC:
The Internet

Submission + - The Making of a Legal TV Torrent (

An anonymous reader writes: last100 has published an inside account of CBC's recent BitTorrent experiment. Guinevere Orvis, a web producer involved in the project, writes: Last week, CBC released an official DRM-free BitTorrent (Slashdot coverage) of a prime time show- a first for a major north American broadcaster. Since then we've been getting hundreds of emails of support and one clear resounding message: give us more. This begs the question, why aren't broadcasters doing more? Why in the year 2008, seven years after BitTorrent's birth and a lifetime in Internet years is this a groundbreaking thing? Let's break down what it takes to get a legal torrent going and maybe we'll get some answers.

Submission + - CBC to broadcast program finale on BitTorrent (

phorm writes: "The CBC television program "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister," which recently aired its final episode and is already notable for having conducted auditions on YouTube and having its own Facebook group, is now planning to release a high-resolution, DRM-free version of the finale via BitTorrent.

As other media companies continue to slam BitTorrent as being only a "tool for piracy", will the continued increase of its use in legitimate distribution overshadow these failing arguments?"


Submission + - CBC releases show as DRM free torrent ( 1

Telvin_3d writes: "As a trial project, the CBC has released an episode of "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister" on bittorrent. There are full resolution and mobile versions, both without any form of DRM. As the first North American broadcaster to experiment with bittorrent, they need to see that this is a viable delivery medium. Anyone interested in DRM free media or alternative delivery channels should give this a look to show your support."

UK Report Slams EULAs 239

draevil writes "Britain's National Consumer Council has completed an investigation into the practice of software End User License Agreements(EULAs) with the conclusion that many consumers are signing away their legal rights and agreeing to unfair terms, which they could never have scrutinized before purchase. The report also acknowledges that even if the EULA were available prior to purchase, it would be unreasonable to expect an average consumer to understand the terms to which they were agreeing. Here are the full report (PDF) and a summary." The NCC recommends that the European Commission bring softwre licenses under the same consumer protections that apply to other products in the EU.

Could the RIAA Just Disappear? 114

BlueMerle writes "Ars Technica is running a story about how EMI is disappointed with RIAA and ultimately they (RIAA) may disappear. 'Is the RIAA as we know it about to disappear? As rumors continue to swirl that EMI will pull its funding from music trade groups like the RIAA and IFPI, an IFPI spokesman tells Ars that the group is in the middle of a major internal review of its operations.'" I wouldn't bet the farm just yet.

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