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Submission + - North Korea Kills Phone Line, 1953 Armistice; Kim Jong Un's Funds Found in China (

eldavojohn writes: Last week, North Korea promised a "preemptive nuclear strike" prior to a UN vote on new sanctions. Despite the threat, the sanctions were unanimously approved. North Korea has responded by killing a Red Cross hotline with Seoul and claims that it has canceled the 1953 Armistice although the UN notes this cannot be done unilaterally (North Korea attempted the same thing in 2003 and 2009). While everyone thought that Kim Jong Un would ride out the sanctions on slush funds, the United States claims to have found his funds in Shanghai and other parts of China totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Beijing has reportedly refused to confiscate these funds despite voting for the very UN resolutions sanctioning North Korea that read: 'More specifically, States are directed to prevent the provision of financial services or the transfer of any financial or other assets or resources, including “bulk cash”, which might be used to evade the sanctions.'

Submission + - American Verizon Worker Outsourced His Own Job to China (

eldavojohn writes: According to the BBC, one Verizon worker took outsourcing to a new level and just decided to pay one fifth of his six digit salary to a Chinese firm to do his job for him. Apparently, by giving his VPN credentials to the Chinese worker(s) replacing himself and sending his physical RSA token to them by way of Fedex, he tripped Verizon's security checks and was discovered by his superiors. What's interesting is that they found "hundreds" of invoices to the firm in Shenyang and suspect this man of being hired across multiple businesses to employ "his" telecommuting software language expertise. From the article, 'The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay.' Everyone can relax, there was no mention of Slashdot.

Submission + - Android's Alarming Worldwide 2012 3Q Numbers ( 2

eldavojohn writes: Gartner's released a report on Worldwide numbers of 2012 3Q phone sales and the staggering results posted from Android have caused people like IW's Eric Zeman to call for sanity. Keep in mind these are worldwide numbers which might be less surprising when you realize that the biggest growth market of them all is China who is more than 90% Android. It's time to face the facts and realize that Android now owns 73% of the worldwide smartphone market. While developers bicker over which platform is best for development and earnings, the people of the world may be making the choice based on just how inexpensive an Android smartphone can be. This same time last year, Gartner reported Android at 52.5% of market share and it now sits at 72.4% market share with over 122 million units sold worldwide. Only Q4 reports will tell if Android's momentum will finally begin to slow to save some chance of competition in the smartphone ecosystem or if the Quickening will be complete.

Submission + - Oracle to Pay Google $1 Million for Lawyer Fees in Failed Patent Case (

eldavojohn writes: You may recall the news that Google would not be paying Oracle for Oracle's intellectual property claims against the search giant. Instead, Google requested $4.03 million for lawyer fees in the case. The judge denied some $2.9 million of those fees and instead settled on $1.13 million as an appropriate number for legal costs. Although this is relative peanuts to the two giants, Groklaw breaks the ruling down into more minute detail for anyone curious on what risks and repercussions are involved with patent trolling.

Submission + - China Begins Stockpiling Rare Earths, Draws WTO Attention (

eldavojohn writes: A report by China Securities Journal claims that that China is now stockpiling rare earths although it has not indicated when this stockpiling started. Many WTO members have complained about China's tightening restrictions on exports of rare earths while China maintains that such restrictions are an attempt to clean up its environmental problems. A WTO special conference scheduled for July 10th will hopefully decide if China's restrictions are unfair trade practices or if the US, the EU and Japan are merely upset that they can't export their pollution and receive rare earths at low prices. Last year, China granted its mining companies the right to export 30,200 tonnes but in actuality only 18,600 tonnes were shipped out of country.
America Online

Submission + - Facebook Purchases 650 AOL Patents from MS (

eldavojohn writes: Not two weeks after Microsoft purchased 925 patents and patent applications plus licenses to AOL's portfolio for $1 billion, Facebook has now acquired 650 of said patents and patent applications for $550 million to which Microsoft retains a license. So was Microsoft's $450 million worth it? According to their press release: 'Upon closing of this transaction with Facebook, Microsoft will retain ownership of approximately 275 AOL patents and applications; a license to the approximately 650 AOL patents and applications that will now be owned by Facebook; and a license to approximately 300 patents that AOL did not sell in its auction.' Will the patent-go-round continue or has Facebook loaded up for a good old-fashion Mexican standoff?

Submission + - The Crisis of Big Science (

eldavojohn writes: The New York Review of Books has an article penned by Steven Weinberg lamenting the future of physics, cosmology and this era of "big science" in which we find ourselves. A quote from Goldhaber sums up the problem nicely, 'The first to disintegrate a nucleus was Rutherford, and there is a picture of him holding the apparatus in his lap. I then always remember the later picture when one of the famous cyclotrons was built at Berkeley, and all of the people were sitting in the lap of the cyclotron.' The article is lengthy with a history of big physics projects (most painfully perhaps the SSC) but Weinberg's message ultimately comes across as pessimism laced with fatalism — easily understandable given his experiences with government funding. Unfortunately he notes, 'Big science has the special problem that it can’t easily be scaled down. It does no good to build an accelerator tunnel that only goes halfway around the circle.' Apparently this article mirrors his talk given in January at the American Astronomical Society. If not our government, will anyone fund these immense projects or will physics slowly grind to a halt due to fiscal constraints?

Submission + - Florian Mueller Outs Himself as Oracle Employee (

eldavojohn writes: So you're commenting on your highly visible blog about patent case after patent case that deal with corporations battling over open source stuff, what does it matter if you're taking money from one and not the other? If you don't see any ethical problems with that, you might be Florian Mueller. Groklaw's PJ (who has been suspicious of Florian's ties to other giants like Microsoft for quite sometime) has noticed that Florian Mueller has decided to go full disclosure and admit that all his commentary on the Oracle v Google case might be tainted by his employment by Oracle. It seems he's got a bunch of consulting money coming his way from Oracle but I'm sure that won't undermine any of his assessments like Android licenses violate the GPL or that Oracle will win $6 billion from Google and Google was "at risk" of not settling despite the outcome that the charges later dropped to a small fraction of the $6 billion. Like so many other times, PJ's hunch was right.

Submission + - Dysfunction in Modern Science? (

eldavojohn writes: The editors of Infection and Immunity are sending a warning signal about modern science. Two editorials (1 and 2) published in the journal have given other biomedical researchers pause to ask if modern science is dysfunctional. Readers familiar with the state of academia may not be surprised but the claims have been presented today to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that level the following allegations: "Incentives have evolved over the decades to encourage some behaviors that are detrimental to good science" and "The surest ticket to getting a grant or job is getting published in a high profile journal, this is an unhealthy belief that can lead a scientist to engage in sensationalism and sometimes even dishonest behavior to salvage their career." The data to back up such slanderous claims? "In the past decade the number of retraction notices for scientific journals has increased more than 10-fold while the number of journals articles published has only increased by 44%." At least a few of such retractions have been covered here.

Submission + - Foxconn's iPad2 Design Leakers Sentenced (

eldavojohn writes: Almost two months ago three individuals were charged with selling the designs of Apple's latest tablet to Maita Electronics for 200,000 yuan (about $30,857.60 USD). They have now been sentenced in Shenzhen City: 'Xiao Chengsong, the legal agent of Maita Electronics, to 18 months in prison and fined him 150,000 yuan ($23,000) for buying the design from two Foxconn workers ... Foxconn employee Lin Kecheng, was sentenced to 14 months and fined 100,000 yuan, while another worker identified as Hou Pengna was given a two-year sentence suspended for one year and fined 30,000 yuan. All three were convicted of the crime of violating commercial secrets.'

Submission + - The End of American Industrial Research (

eldavojohn writes: In his latest blog post, Dev Gualtieri recalls a time when US industrial research and publishing papers was part of his professional life. Aside from the plug for the book Science Mart and its get-off-my-lawn-edness, Gualtieri cites his own personal anecdote on the decline of US industrial research. Companies like Bell used to employ the minds of people like Shannon and Turing while producing groundbreaking papers and researching new technologies. The blog notes that its easier for today's company to justify investing large amounts of cash in legal fees and lawyers than white papers and researchers. The accusation is that today's "Marketplace for Ideas" actually is just making us stupider (by outsourcing research) as opposed to many claims that it is inherently efficient. The commercialization of scientific research as a commodity starting in the 1980s has left our country inept and lazy on the global market as companies simply buy out the small guys who come up with original ideas or litigate them into oblivion instead of doing their own research and development. Gualtieri's sentiments echo Andrew Odlyzko in 1995 who conducted research in the once prestigious Bell and AT&T Labs. Is industrial research all but dead in the United States? Has anyone here been recently published in a journal after doing research in their company's environment?

Submission + - Apple May Have Bought 200+ Patents from Freescale (

eldavojohn writes: By way of Patently O with a bit of context at Ars, news is spreading of Apple's acquisition of over two hundred of Freescale's patents and patent applications. To clarify from the article, 'To be clear, the assignment records available only indicate that Apple received an “assignment of assignors interest.” Thus, it is unclear from the information now available whether (1) Apple obtained full title to the patents and (2) whether Apple purchased the rights or obtained them through some other type of transaction. However, a cash purchase is likely because Apple has a large multi-billion-dollar cash surplus while Freescale has a large multi-billion-dollar debt that has come due. The patents were previously mortgaged and a release of the security interest has not yet been recorded.' Is it possible that a large exchange of cash has occurred betwixt the two? Keep in mind that Apple has a lot of arrows going to and from it in the smartphone lawsuit quagmire that erupted in March of 2010.

Submission + - Fable Developer: Used Game Sales Worse Than Piracy (

eldavojohn writes: Lionhead, the developer of Fable III, told Eurogamer that used games are worse than piracy. Mike West, the lead combat designer for the latest Fable said, 'For us it's probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is. But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.' So downloading a game is bad but apparently stopping by a second hand store to pick up a licensed physical copy of the game ends up hurting them even more.

Submission + - Square Enix to Report $148 Million Loss for FY2010 (

eldavojohn writes: It's no secret that Final Fantasy XIV took a lot of heat early on which required extensive damage control. And the Japanese tsunami (which appears to have added $7.5 million to their losses) certainly didn't help but if what early investor reports are saying is true then Square Enix is expected to report $148 million in losses for the closing fiscal year. Expect title cancellations (which might add to the hurt) and a very painful realization for the owner of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (PDF warning). Perhaps a move to rereleasing classics will prove more fruitful than high development cost MMORPGs?

Submission + - Google Announces One Pass Payment System (

eldavojohn writes: Riding the tail of Apple's 30% announcement, Google's Eric Schmidt has announced One Pass, a new method for users to pay for content. The BBC is reporting that Google is taking a 10% cut. One Pass will work on Google sites and on phones and tablets as the announcement notes: 'Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don't have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.' This is to be handled through Google Checkout.

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer