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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 29 declined, 17 accepted (46 total, 36.96% accepted)

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Submission + - Facebook analizes the impact of love on their business ( 3

c0lo writes: Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do.

In a blog post, the company’s team of data scientists announced with hard numbers that hints at budding relationships before the relationships start.
The two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together (and less on FB?!)

A subsequent blog entry offerrs an insight on break-ups: it is the last of a series of 6 blogposts that ran last week on the "love" theme (if you are un US single, you may be interested in this one for cities with an extreme male/female singles ratio).

Submission + - China's first lunar lander to blast off Sunday; plans a man on the Moon by 2030 (

c0lo writes: A Chinese Long March rocket is scheduled to blast off to the Moon on Sunday evening at about 6pm UTC carrying a small robotic rover that will touch down on to the lunar surface in about two weeks’ time – the first soft landing on the Earth’s only natural satellite since 1976.
China has been methodically and patiently building up the key elements needed for an advanced space programme — from launchers to manned missions in Earth orbit to unmanned planetary craft — and it is investing heavily. After only 10 years since it independently sent its first astronaut into space, China is forging ahead with a bold three-step programme beginning with the robotic exploration of possible landing sites for the first Chinese astronauts to set foot on lunar soil between 2025 and 2030.

Prof Ouyang Ziyuan of the department of lunar and deep space exploration and an adviser to the mission commented on the scale of Chinese thinking about the Moon. He said the forthcoming venture would land in an ancient crater 400km wide called Sinus Iridum, thought to be relatively flat and clear of rocks, and explore its geology. He explained that there were three motivations behind the drive to investigate the Moon.
"First, to develop our technology because lunar exploration requires many types of technology, including communications, computers, all kinds of IT skills and the use of different kinds of materials. This is the key reason," he told BBC News.
"Second, in terms of the science, besides Earth we also need to know our brothers and sisters like the Moon, its origin and evolution and then from that we can know about our Earth.
"Third, in terms of the talents, China needs its own intellectual team who can explore the whole lunar and solar system — that is also our main purpose." promised live coverage of the event

Submission + - Surfer at Sydney's Bondi Beach knocked unconscious by playful whale (

c0lo writes: (link includes video of the incident)

Bishan Rajapakse, 38, was surfing with a friend when a whale "the size of a bus" surfaced close to the beach around 10:30am (AEST). Mr Rajapakse says when he paddled over to take a look, he noticed the whale directly underneath him and woke up later on the sand.

"The whale actually moved pretty quickly so I guess it's made me cautious to see what could happen," he said. "[I know] it's better to look at them from afar [but] it's pretty hard to move away from that temptation, because I guess the whale was looking so placid."

Witness Lachlan Harris says the whale appeared to be frolicking with the surfers.
"They were playing and the whale was frolicking with them and having a lot of fun and sort of popping its head out," Mr Harris said.
"It just flicked its tail and some surfers were in the wrong [place] and the next thing you know a surfboard is flying in the air [and] swimmers are getting thrown out of the water. It was unbelievable.

Submission + - Bolivia threatens to close US embassy; alleged CIA intervention in flight detour

c0lo writes: Bolivia's president has threatened to close the US embassy as 5 other Latin American leaders joined him in blasting Europe and the United States after his plane was rerouted amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard.

"We don't need a US embassy in Bolivia," he said. "My hand would not shake to close the US embassy. We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically, democratically."

In a show of support, Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Jose Mujica of Uruguay and Desi Bouterse of Suriname met with Morales in the central city of Cochabamba.

At a rally before the meeting, Maduro claimed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had ordered France, Portugal, Italy and Spain to deny access to Morales's plane on Tuesday. "A minister of one of these European governments personally told us by telephone that they were going to apologise because they were surprised, and that those who gave the order to aviation authorities in this country ... were the CIA," he said.

After the meeting, the leaders issued a statement calling on the European governments to publicly apologise "in relation to the serious incidents that occurred", but Morales said earlier that apologies were not enough.

Submission + - Reinventing the wheel: square and better than the round one. (

c0lo writes: Inventors behind a Los Angeles-based startup have ignored the naysayers and created a cube-shaped skateboard wheel they say offers faster speeds and a better grip.

Though based on a square, Shark Wheels feel perfectly circular when riding. The secret is the wheel’s sine wave-like pattern that looks like three snakes spooning each other. Unlike traditional wheels, this design creates a thinner contact patch with the pavement, providing less rolling resistance and faster ride.

“The alternating pattern of grooves significantly reduces hydroplaning by channeling liquid, sand or gravel out and away from the surface of the wheel, allowing for a firm contact patch with the ground,” the company claims. “Also, the rounded edges allow liquid, sand or gravel to pass around the wheel, providing unparalleled grip over wet and loose traction surfaces.”

Submission + - Dotcom alleges Megaupload raid was part of deal to film The Hobbit (

c0lo writes: Kim Dotcom alleges, in an 20 mins interview with the Australian public television, that Megaupload was offered up by the New Zealand's PM "on a silver platter" as part of negotiations with Warner Brothers executives for shooting the Hobbit in New Zealand. He promises that he'll substantiate the claims in court.

He also says that the extradition case the US govt is weak and the reason behind the latest delay in extradition hearing (postponed from August this year to March next year) is an attempt to bleed Dotcom dry of his money

Also interesting, Dotcom says that the latest debacle of the massive scale online online surveillance by US spy agencies has triggered an "explosion" of interest in, the "cloud storage" site with user generated encryption

Kim Dotcom uploaded yesterday on youtube a footage of the raid, as captured by security cameras in his mansion: helicopters, anti-terror police, silenced rifles fitted with scopes, dogs, already prepared tow trucks for his car collection

Submission + - Atomic clock built with 10^-18 instability. (

c0lo writes: Apropos accuracy polls and missing options:

A collective of NIST, University of Colorado, Instituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica and Politecnico di Torino announces (warning: PDF linked) the creation of an atomic clock with an instability of 10^-18. Such a level of instability is equivalent to specifying the Earth’s diameter with a precision to less than the width of an atom.
Better still, consider the gravitational redshift, a consequence of general relativity dictating that clocks ‘tick’ slower in stronger gravitational elds. With a maximum instability of 10^-18, one can discern a difference shown by two such clocks separated by only 1 cm in elevation above the Earths surface.

Now, it is likely that an operator of half-a-world-away-remote-controlled-drones won't actually need such a precision, but it becomes important in designing experiments to test unification theories employing non-metric couplings without asking for a cosmological setup (may one dream of gravitational waves detection without causing — or expecting — supernova explosions or birth of blackholes type of events?)

Submission + - Library journal board resigns on "conscience crisis" after death of Aaron Swartz (

c0lo writes: The editor-in-chief and entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration announced their resignation last week, citing "a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access" in the days after the death of Aaron Swartz.

The board had worked with publisher Taylor & Francis on an open-access compromise in the months since, which would allow the journal to release articles without paywall, but Taylor & Francis' final terms asked contributors to pay $2,995 for each open-access article. As more and more contributors began to object, the board ultimately found the terms unworkable

The ultimate future of the journal is still undetermined, but the next issue appears to be dead in the water. In a statement to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the journal's editor-in-chief said:

And I advise everyone to take a closer look at the text when I said: “The sad truth is that we’ll never see this particular issue of the Journal of Library Administration.” I never said the content was dead, I simply stated that it would never be in JLA.


Submission + - Microsoft, Partners probed Over Bribery Claims (

c0lo writes: US federal authorities are examining Microsoft’s involvement with companies and individuals that allegedly paid bribes to overseas government officials in exchange for business.
The United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have both opened preliminary investigations into the bribery allegations involving Microsoft in China, Italy and Romania.

The China allegations were first shared with United States officials last year by an unnamed whistle-blower who had worked with Microsoft in the country, according to the person briefed on the inquiry. The whistle-blower said that a Microsoft official in China directed the whistle-blower to pay bribes to government officials to win business deals.

U.S. government investigators are also reviewing whether Microsoft had a role in allegations that resellers offered bribes to secure software deals with Romania's Ministry of Communications. In Italy Microsoft's dealings with consultants in Italy that specialize in customer-loyalty programs are under scrutiny,with allegations that Microsoft's Italian unit used such consultants as vehicles for lavishing gifts and trips on Italian procurement officials in exchange for government business

In a blog post Tuesday afternoon, John Frank, a vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said the company could not comment about continuing investigations. Mr. Frank said it was not uncommon for such government reviews to find that the claims were without merit.

Somehow, given how the OOXML became a standard, it wouldn't surprise me to be an actual fire that caused this smoke.


Submission + - Google engineers open source book scanner design (

c0lo writes: Engineers from Google's Books team have released the design plans for a comparatively reasonably priced (about $1500) book scanner on Google Code.

Built using a scanner, a vacuum cleaner and various other components, the Linear Book Scanner was developed by engineers during the "20 percent time" that Google allocates for personal projects.

The license is highly permissive, thus it's possible the design and building costs can be improved. Any takers?


Submission + - Vegetative state man "talks" by brain scan (

c0lo writes: Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn’t spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).

Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative.
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."

As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative.

The professor in an earlier interview functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it’s quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient’s bedside.

Phillip K Dick's world is one step closer.

Submission + - Bristol prints its own local currency (

c0lo writes: The West Country city launched its own local currency to great fanfare yesterday with the Lord Mayor handing over a £B1 note in symbolic exchange for a round loaf of granary bread made by local baker Joe Wheatcroft, who said he would put his first piece of Bristolian cash towards buying a dairy cow.

Independent mayor candidate George Ferguson says if he is elected he would be happy to be paid in Bristol Pounds.

The 5 Bristol pound denomination is Banksy note, featuring a design tribute to the renowned graffiti artist.


Submission + - Clever bird goes fishing (

c0lo writes: Amazing display of intelligence for a bird, even more amazing as it relies on a "delayed gratification" — a bird using a scrap of bread to catch fish.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - WIPO's Broadcasting Treaty is back (

c0lo writes: The UN's World Intellectual Property Organization's Broadcasting Treaty is back. This is the treaty that EFF and its colleagues killed five years ago, but Big Content won't let it die.

Under the treaty, broadcasters would have rights over the material they transmitted, separate from copyright, meaning that if you recorded something from TV, the Internet, cable or satellite, you'd need to get permission from the creator and the broadcaster to re-use it. And unlike copyright, the "broadcast right" doesn't expire, so even video that is in the public domain can't be used without permission from the broadcaster

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.