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Science

Submission + - NC Republicans Consider Outlawing Sealevel Rise Predictions (newsobserver.com) 2

ideonexus writes: "Republicans in North Carolina are floating a bill that would force planners to only consider past historical data in predicting the sea-level rise (SLR) for the state as opposed to considering projections that take Global Warming into account. NC-20, the pro-development lobbying group representing twenty counties along the NC coast, is behind the effort and asserts that the one-meter prediction would prohibit development on too much land as opposed to SLR predictions of 3.9 to 15.6 inches."

Submission + - Estonian IT company blames PostGre for failure. 1

taara writes: When the votes of the elections of the parliament of Estonia were counted yesterday, there was a two hour blackout in the real-time publishing of the results. The election commission resolved the problem by using alternative channels, like Facebook, etc... The IT company, responsible for the service of online publishing, announced that the failure occurred because Estonian government opted for free software — PostGre — to save circa 170,000 USD and the problem is not their fault. http://www.e24.ee/?id=398586 ( In Estonian, use Google Translate). Might this claim have any legitimacy?
HP

Submission + - Recent HP Laptops shipped CPU-Choking WiFi Driver (superuser.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Computer manufacturers have recently come under fire for the continued practice of shipping machines with excessive bloatware. Software preinstalled on some recent HP laptops was worse than normal though, consuming anywhere from 25-99% CPU by making incessant WMI queries, resulting in overheating laptops and reduced battery life. Users on a computer Q&A site did some sleuthing, and revealed that HP Wireless Assistant — software which does nothing but tell the user when their WiFi adapter is turned on or off — was causing the problem. According to an HP support forum, the problem is fixed in later versions, but thousands of laptops have the software installed, and the software does not get updated automatically.
America Online

Submission + - AOL's "Dirty Little Secret": 60% of AOL's Profits (huffingtonpost.com) 4

satuon writes: Ken Auletta's big New Yorker piece on AOL (subscription only) this week revealed an interesting detail about the company's inner workings. According to Auletta, 80% of AOL's profits come from subscribers, and 75% of those subscribers are paying for something they don't actually need.

Auletta lays out how this works:
The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. "The dirty little secret," a former AOL executive says, "is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it."

Submission + - RIAA Threatens ICANN with lawsuit (icann.org)

think_nix writes: A letter from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel the RIAA to ICANN threatens to sue ICANN over the future implementation of the .music gTLD if certain "measures" are not met by ICANN in compliance with the RIAA. The letter states and points out such concerns as 'Community Objections', 'Lack of Transparency' , and 'Malicious Conduct' the reasons of concern from the RIAA.

As noted above, we are concerned that a music themed gTLD will be used to enable wide scale copyright and trademark infringment


It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Virginia DMV Revokes World's Greatest License Plat (jalopnik.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A man in possession of the world's greatest license plate has lost his battle with the Virginia DMV, who ridiculously claim it encourages oral sex with kids instead of just cannibalism. Here's their predictably unfunny response to the funny plate.

According to poster WHOWANTSBEEF at Reddit, he's the owner of the infamous "EATTHE Kids First" license plate floating around the internet for years. Unfortunately for him, someone complained his plate was advocating something beyond hilarious cannibalism.

Open Source

Submission + - Apache Subversion to WANdisco, Inc: Get Real. (apache.org)

kfogel writes: The Apache Subversion project has just had to remind one of its corporate contributors about the rules of the road. WANdisco, Inc was putting out some very odd press releases and blog posts, implying (among other things) that their company was in some sort of steering position in the open source project. Oops — that's the not the Apache Way :-). The Apache Software Foundation has reminded them of how things work. Meanwhile, one of the founding developers of Subversion, Ben Collins-Sussman, has posted a considerably more caustic take on WANdisco's behavior.
Microsoft

Submission + - Does Windows Phone 7 have a data transmission bug?

blarkon writes: Microsoft commentator and Windows Phone 7 Expert Paul Thurrott has reported a serious bug that indicates Windows Phone 7 is uploading up to 50 MB of unidentified data every day. The phone operating system apparently ignores Wi-Fi connections for sending this data, leading some Windows Phone 7 owners hitting their 2 GB plan data limit while doing little more than checking email and social networking sites. Thurrott has written a book on Windows Phone 7 and is unlikely to be making such a claim unless it has some substance. At the moment no one knows what this data contains or where it is going, though Thurrott suspects it may be related to the Windows Phone Marketplace
Earth

Submission + - An Evangelical Backlash Against Environmentalism

Pickens writes: "John Collins Rudolf reports that a fierce backlash against the mingling of Christianity and environmentalism has recently emerged led by the Cornwall Alliance, an evangelical nonprofit that strenuously opposes action on climate change and describes the environmental movement as a “false religion” that Christians must avoid at all costs and that while some environmental concerns are well founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated including "fears of destructive manmade global warming, overpopulation, and rampant species loss." This December, the group released a 12-part educational video series, “Resisting the Green Dragon,” warning Christians that radical environmentalism “is striving to put America, and the world, under its destructive control.” “We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory,” the group’s declaration reads. “Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.”"
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook was top search term in 2010 (tekgoblin.com) 1

tekgoblin writes: Hitwise has analyzed the top 1000 most search for items in 2010 and Facebook has come out on top. Facebook was also the top search term in 2009 accounting for 2.11 percent of all internet searches. There were four different variations of the term Facebook which accounted for consist of approximately 3.48 percent of searches.

Submission + - Lobbyists, Astroturfers & The FCC: A Net Neutr (grouptexting.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday’s ruling was the result of intense lobbying and numerous astroturfing campaigns. Search Google for Net Neutrality and you’re likely to see paid advertisements for groups that claim to represent the interests of consumers. Search for ‘net neutrality astroturfing’ and you’ll find links to writers and organizations who have outed ‘consumer advocacy’ groups staffed and funded by the wireless and broadband carriers. Just this morning we received a heads up about a group called MyWireless.org. They bill themselves as ‘a nonpartisan non-profit advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from around the country, supporting reasonable pro-consumer wireless policies.’ It turns out this group shares a Washington DC office address with CTIA, the international trade group of the telecommunication industry.

Submission + - Netflix likes open source (netflix.com)

Art3x writes: Netflix's VP of Systems and E-commerce Engineering, Kevin McEntee, just blogged his appreciation for open-source software and open standards. 'At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects,' he writes, and he says that Netflix not only uses but has contributed back to projects such as Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, and HBase. Instantly streamed in a bunch of comments asking why there's no player for Linux.

Submission + - University of Bergen, Norway, scraps Solaris (www.idg.no)

Christoffer777 writes: The University of Bergen, Norway, has decided to phase out and replace their Solaris based file servers after lack of support from Oracle.
According to Thomas Evensen, head of IT, they do not trust that Oracle has the capacity to figure out what is wrong and give them proper support. He claims that Oracle does not have the technical expertise to diagnose the problem, that it probably has to do with all the Sun employees that have left since Oracle took over, and that escalating the problem within Oracle has taken a long time. It seems that their plan is to move to some form of Linux.

For those who do not understand Norwegian, they do not have an English version, so you will have to try your luck with a translator.

Submission + - My GPL code has been... patented! 4

ttsiod writes: Back in 2001, I coded HeapCheck, a GPL library for Windows (inspired by ElectricFence) that detected invalid read/write accesses on any heap allocations at runtime — thus greatly helping my debugging sessions. I published it on my site, and got a few users who were kind enough to thank me — a Serbian programmer even sent me 250$ as a thank you (I still have his mails). After a few years, Microsoft included very similar technology in the operating system itself, calling it PageHeap. I had more or less forgotten these stuff, since for the last 7 years I've been coding for UNIX/Linux, where valgrind superseeded Efence/dmalloc/etc. Imagine my surprise, when yesterday, Googling for references to my site, I found out that the technology I implemented, of runtime detection of invalid heap accesses, has been patented in the States, and to add insult to injury, even mentions my site (via a non-working link to an old version of my page) in the patent references! After the necessary "WTFs" and "bloody hells" I thought this merrits (a) a Slashdotting, and (b) a set of honest questions: what should I do about this? I am not an American citizen, but the "inventors" of this technology (see their names in the top of the patent) have apparently succeeded in passing this ludicrous patent in the States. If my code doesn't count as prior art, Bruce Perens's Efence (which I clearly state my code was inspired from) is at least 12 years prior! Suggestions/cursing patent trolls most welcome.

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