conlaw writes: Outsourcing of IT services to foreign countries has been the bane of many/. readers. Now, it has been discovered that one the largest outsource employers in India has been over-reporting income and profits for several years. As reported in Wednesday's Washington Post:
The leader of one of India's largest technology outsourcing companies, Satyam Computer Services, on Wednesday admitted cooking its books and committing other grave financial wrongdoing to inflate profits over several years.
The company, India's fourth-largest information technology firm, with more than 53,000 employees, services several Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, General Electric and IBM. The range of services includes application software development, engineering design solutions and back-office customer services.
Chairman and founder B. Ramalinga Raju took responsibility for the fraud and resigned in a letter he submitted to Satyam's board. The letter said the company lied about profit and revenue for several years, inflating revenue by 33 percent and profits more than tenfold in the third quarter.
conlaw writes: As many readers will recall, Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld and other fantasy books, was diagnosed late last year with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/14/0113224. He has since given a million dollars toward Alzheimer's research. Now he is about to present a petition to Downing Street calling for more money to be directed to research into the disease. His petition will be hard for government officials to ignore, since it was "signed by 100 top scientists, a host of public figures and 20,000 members of the public."
conlaw writes: I've been under the weather for a day and managed to keep off-line, thus missing the Google email fiasco. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/16/194244 However, I returned to find that my search history and the separate tab for keeping track of my agenda had suddenly been placed in a new separate column on the left side of my display. This new column squeezes my regular feeds into narrower but longer areas so that I can't read them without scrolling down. To add insult to injury, the "designers" of this new display, have changed all of my section headings to PINK. (Can you guess what my least favorite color is?)
Finally, I discovered after much searching through the Google pages that there is no "contact us" link and the help topics only relate to Google's choice of topics, such as how I can improve my IE search experience on a computer that they know is running Firefox on a Linux box.
If anyone knows how to contact someone at Google to report my displeasure, I'd appreciate that information. Thank you.
conlaw writes: As was reported here earlier in the week,(http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/29/1455219), Scrabulous was taken down by its developers after Hasbro asserted that the game infringed on its Scrabble copyright. However the Scrabulous developers, Indian brothers Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, have already come back with a new game. According to the Washington Post, "the new game, Wordscraper, has a whiff of Scrabble to it and features many of the play options that made many Facebook users fans of the original Scrabulous. But the game has a different point system than Scrabble, uses circles instead of squares and has a few other differences."
Now to see if Hasbro claims that this games is still in violation of its copyrights.
conlaw writes: A judge in New York has allowed a suit (a lawsuit, to be precise) to proceed against the M & M Mars company and their advertising agency for infringing on the trademark of "The Naked Cowboy." For the past ten years, Robert Burck has been visible (very visible, that is) in Times Square strumming a white guitar while dressed only in white cowboy boots and hat and skimpy white underwear. The companies had created a series of billboards depicting M&M's dressed as New York City icons, including the King Kong and Statue of Liberty. Burck, however, was apparently not amused by video billboards depicting a blue M&M dressed in his signature outfit, and filed suit in February for violating his trademark.
conlaw writes: I'm on the Democratic National Committee's mailing list. Here's the first part of the message I received this morning:
I wanted to drop you a quick note about a major policy change here at the Democratic Party.
As we move toward the general election, the Democratic Party has to be the Party of ordinary Americans, not Washington lobbyists and special interests. So, as of this morning, if you're a federal lobbyist, or if you control political action committee donations, we won't be accepting your contribution.
conlaw writes: As we all know, scientists have been all excited about nanotubes and the great forward strides they'll make in our lives. I guess most of them had failed to ask that perennial Slashdot question: whatcouldpossiblygowrong. Discovery News reports on one answer:
May 20, 2008 — Strong, versatile little "nanotubes" made out of carbon are considered future stars in nanotechnology research in medicine and industry. Now a study finds that longer threads of the stuff mimic the toxic qualities of asbestos, renewing questions about how carbon nanotubes can be used safely.
conlaw writes: I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some/.'ers had a hand in this page, but for those who haven't yet encountered it, this is the funniest 404 message I've ever run across. http://www.ibiblio.org/mdw/HOWTO/BootPrompt-HOWTO.html Congratulations to any of you who contributed your country's dialects.
conlaw writes: In a headline reminiscent of the classic TV series, "Lost in Space," Discovery News declares, "Hibernation Method Tested for Space Travel." The reality, however, is somewhat less impressive than the headline. It does appear that some sort of slowing bodily functions would be helpful if astronauts were to go on longer journeys, such as the three-year voyage that would be required to reach Mars. First, hibernation or the like would serve to alleviate the tensions caused by having several people forced to remain together in the confines of a space ship for months on end. Also, slowing the astronauts' vital functions would not only reduce the amount of provisions needed to supply them with food, oxygen and other necessities but would also diminish the amount of byproducts produced by the comsumption of those supplies. At this point, it appears that hydrogen sulfide ("rotten egg gas") might furnish an answer. Mice who were exposed to the gas showed a much lower metabolism without experiencing some of the life-threatening problems associated with other methods such as extreme cooling. The scientists plan to keep testing the gas with larger animals long before experimenting on astronauts.
conlaw writes: News Daily reports that a scientist who developed a way to calculate how much water is used in the production of anything from a cup of coffee to a hamburger was awarded the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize on Wednesday. Professor John Anthony Allan of the University of London received the prize for introducing the concept of "virtual water." This concept is actually a method that has changed the way that the "water cost" of various actions can be calculated. For instance, we might think that making a cup of coffee would consume at most only a few cups of water, including the water used to wash the cup and the water that remains in the unused grounds. However, as Dr. Allan points out, "behind that morning cup of coffee, there are 140 liters of water that was consumed to grow, produce, package and ship the beans."
conlaw writes: We've all read or seen the stories involving whales who somehow become stranded near shore. Usually, despite heroic efforts by volunteers, the whales never make it back out to sea. This story, however, has a much happier ending. Volunteers had been trying to get two sperm whales away from the spot where they were stranded near Mahia Beach in New Zealand. Despite the volunteers' best efforts, the whales kept getting disoriented and ending up on the same sandbar. Then Moko, a bottlenose dolphin who frolics near the beach, arrived on the scene and guided the whales out of area and back to the open sea.
conlaw writes: As reported on Discovery.com today, scientist have found a way to extract energy from rain:
Energy is everywhere. In the sun, wind, and now rain.
Researchers have developed a technique that harvests energy from rain showers and converts it into electricity. The technology could work in industrial air conditioning systems, where water condenses and drops like rain.
It could also be used in combination with solar power to scavenge as much energy from the environment as possible, or to power tiny, wireless sensors designed to monitor environmental conditions.
conlaw writes: Arizona State University entomologist Quentin Wheeler has announced the description and discovery of a new species of whirligig beetle. Scientists have been finding and naming a lot of new species lately, but this announcement was unique in that it was made during a Roy Orbison Tribute Concert. Dr. Wheeler announced that he had named the the discovery "Orectochilus orbisonorum" in honor of the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.
P.S. Milestones is the title of a 1973 Orbison album.
conlaw writes: According a report in today's National Geographic News, scientists in Uraguay have confirmed that a skeleton found by an amateur paleontologist is that of the largest known rodent. Based on the 21-inch-long skull, the scientists have concluded that the creature, who lived between 2 and 4 million years ago, was about the size of a full-grown bull, weighing in at slightly over a ton. Imagine encountering one of these guys in your cozy little cave!
conlaw writes: "Please let us in on the new "keybindings beta" that has been showing up under the listing of comments on an article. Trying to figure out the significance of the Q W E A S D is driving me crazy (and let me tell you, that's not a very long drive most days). I even read through ALL of the FAQs last night in an attempt to find out what's happening.