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Submission + - Longest Solar Eclipse of the Century 33 pics (

Vinod writes: "Yesterday thousands of people around the Asia witnessed the longest Solar Eclipse of the Century. Though it was not clearly visible in some parts due to overcast weather, but still thousands people gathered to view this spectacular event. Yesterday's Solar Eclipse lasted for nearly 6 to 7 minutes making a record of longest Solar Eclipse of the century. In India thousands of people gathered at the banks of the rivers to take a holy dip. Here is a collection of 33 beautiful images of Solar Eclipse around the World."

Submission + - Why is Facebook spamming my email contacts ? 1

IMarkov writes: "I've seen several people complain about Facebook invitations sent on their behalf to their friends and relatives. This happened to me too. When I wanted to invite several new people two weeks ago, Facebook offered to import my contacts from my gmail account, and I keyed in my login/password (silly me). Facebook then offered checkboxes to select people to invite, however, it eventually invited everyone, including the mailing lists from which I received messages many years ago. It even sent second reminders a week later, and I didn't see how to stop it. Granted, a number of people signed up, but this was awkward, and several people complained about receiving four invitations sent on my behalf through several mailing lists. I wonder why Facebook is doing this — this does not look like a innocent bug, or lack of social skills. But doing this deliberately can quickly backfire. In any case, one should probably _not trust their account info to even best-known Web sites."

Submission + - USPTO Gives Microsoft Credit for Lotus' Homework

theodp writes: "On Tuesday, the USPTO granted Microsoft a patent for 'Email Emotiflags' despite ample evidence of a circa-1996 Lotus Notes precedent called Mood Stamps, sender-chosen emoticons that appear next to inbox messages. Among those seemingly aware of the existence of Mood Stamps is Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who appears to have fielded questions about the feature while at Lotus. While simply Googling for 'Email Emotiflags' would have turned up evidence of this prior art (including a /. discussion), the USPTO came up empty after instead going with the more-upscale Google Scholar and patent databases for its search effort. Can we count on Ozzie to do-the-right-thing and give the USPTO a heads-up?"

Submission + - White House Panel Seeks Input On Spaceflight Plans (

Neil H. writes: The Augustine Commission, commissioned by the White House and NASA to provide an independent review of the current US human spaceflight program and potential new directions, is seeking public input on a document describing the preliminary beyond-LEO (Low Earth Orbit) exploration scenarios they're analyzing. The destination-based scenarios, designed with NASA's current budget in mind, range from a Lunar Base (essentially NASA's current plan), to "Mars First" (human exploration of Mars ASAP), to "Flexible Path" (initially focused on several destinations in shallow gravity wells, such as Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, and the Martian moon Phobos). The Commission is also seeking input on the issues of engaging commercial spaceflight, in-space refueling, and coordinating human and robotic exploration.

Submission + - Mid-East telco pushes spyware to Blackberrys (

angry tapir writes: "Research in Motion has confirmed that a Blackberry firmware update pushed out to subscribers of United Arab Emirates carrier Etisalat contained spyware. About a week ago, Blackberry users in the UAE began complaining that an update pushed out to Etisalat subscribers was killing battery life on their phones. The update was supposed to improve Blackberry performance, but after some investigation, technical users reported that it actually contained software that could spy on users' activities."
Social Networks

Social Networking Behavioral Agreements At Work? 326

r0nc0 writes "My company (a Fortune 15 company) has recently required everyone that accesses the company portal to accept or decline an 'agreement' that governs the use of social networking. It basically states that any discussion of the company or any of the work that you do, whether at the office or at home, must be governed by their rules of social networking. Naturally these rules are that you never say anything bad or negative about the company, nor do you say anything bad or negative about anything. It's presented like a EULA, but if you decline more than 3 times your manager is notified. Naturally I declined it each time until my manager complained to me about all the email he was getting about me not accepting the agreement, so I went ahead and accepted, knowing that anybody who cares would just post anonymously anyway. This is the first time I've run into a forced agreement about social networking, and the agreement is so broad that it can't possibly be enforced. I've tried pointing out that agreements like that only drive people away and aren't necessary anyway, but I might as well talk to a brick wall. Has anyone else out there run into social networking behavioral agreements like this?"

Small Asteroid To Buzz Earth 171

ddelmonte writes in to tell us about a small near-earth object, discovered just 2 days ago, that is expected to pass within 64,000 km of our planet on March 2, 13:44 UT. NEO 2009 DD45 will be well inside the Moon's orbit and just under twice the altitude of geosynchronous satellites. According to Sky and Telescope, 2009 DD45's closest approach will be over the Pacific west of Tahiti, so observers in Australia, Japan, and perhaps Hawaii will have the best chance of spotting it with, say, an 8-in. telescope. Here's where you can generate an ephemeris of the object for your location. At closest approach NEO 2009 DD45 will be moving half a degree per minute and peaking around magnitude 10.5. It will be brighter than 13th magnitude for only a few hours.

Submission + - Defendant must tell government his password ( 1

sohp writes: "Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, reports are out that the case of a man who invoked the 5th amendment when asked to supply the password to decrypt his hard drive to allow police to search for child pornography has a new development. A judge has overturned the original magistrate's decision allowing the defense and has ordered Sebastien Boucher to supply the prosecutors with a decrypted hard disk. Note that the order is not that he produce the key — just that he provide an unencrypted copy."

Universal Power Adapter Struggling For Support 277

Ian Lamont writes "Last year, there was a lot of hopeful discussion surrounding an initiative to have the consumer electronics industry standardize their products on a USB-based universal power adapter devised by Green Plug. Eight months later, the effort has stalled. The reason: manufacturers have balked from using Green Plug's technology. '... Gadget makers seem to have no compelling financial incentive to adopt Green Plug's technology. It would require them to add Green Plug's chip, or similar hardware and software, into every phone, camera, or music player they build, making them more expensive and more complicated to build. Another stumbling block for manufacturers: A universal power supply would kill the market for replacement power supplies. Manufacturers sell these at a steep markup price to customers who lose or break the original one that came with the device, and aren't tech-savvy enough to procure a low-cost generic replacement.' Green Plug is now trying to drum up public outcry through a (slow) website, but the number of supportive comments and votes remains relatively low."

Comment Re:big deal? (Score 2, Insightful) 176

D, E, and

F) He sounds like he believes and means what he says.

Clinton is smart but he lies when he opens his mouth. Obama somehow gives off credibility and authenticity ... one would hope by being credible and authentic, but we shall see. Integrity is rare anywhere, and you don't expect to see it in politicians anymore, at least not at the P level, because we've had a bad run of those here lately.

IIRC the Kennedy election events were very similar in tone (rock starish). More swooning girls then. Media was slow but there was less of it, so speeches were broadcast and people listened to them. Rhetoric was more formal and poetic then, but less reality based perhaps.

Then, as now, there was a renewed hope for dramatic change for the better, an end to the war maybe, a generational shift to the younger, more progressive culture. The euphoria in these hopeful elections arises from the unexpected possibility that we (well, many of we) just might find ourselves in a world that better reflects our own values and priorities.

Both then and now opportunities opened up for women and minorities to move closer to parity with WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant) men and to have a chance to have our issues raised. Again, after years of corporate greed and government spying, the people today have more common ground than they did in the Kennedy era though, whether they realize it or not. Interesting times.

The Courts

Google Wins Agreement To Anonymize YouTube Logs 242

Barence, following up on yesterday's news that Viacom is looking for videos uploaded by Google staff, links to an article at PC Pro, excerpting: "Google and Viacom have reached a deal to protect the privacy of millions of YouTube watchers. Earlier this month, a New York federal judge ordered Google to turn over YouTube user data to Viacom and other plaintiffs to help them prepare a confidential study of what they argue are vast piracy violations on the video-sharing site. Google claims it had now agreed to provide plaintiffs' attorneys with a version of a massive viewership database that blanks out YouTube usernames and IP addresses that could be used to identify individual video watchers."

Disgruntled Engineer Hijacks San Francisco's Computer System 1082

ceswiedler writes "A disgruntled software engineer has hijacked San Francisco's new multimillion-dollar municipal computer system. When the Department of Technology tried to fire him, he disabled all administrative passwords other than his own. He was taken into custody but has so far refused to provide the password, and the department has yet to regain admin access on their own. They're worried that he or an associate might be able to destroy hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents, including emails, payroll information, and law enforcement documents."

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