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Comment Re:Internet democracy (Score 1) 219

The bible seems to have been written starting around 1500 BC (the first books of the Old Testament) with later stuff coming ... uh .. later. Since the Ancient Greek civilization dates back to something like 6,000BC I don't really see any substantive inconsistency here.

Submission + - isohunt torrent site defeated by MPAA (

grouchyDude writes: The isohunt web site used to index BitTorrent content seems to be doomed to shut down after losing a legal battle with the MPAA. This is a consequence of a legal ruling back in March, but now it seems over due to a lost appeal reported by Wired. The Canadian operator Gary Fung posted a goodbye message on the sire and has also agreed to pay $110 million. MPAA Chris Dodd said it "sends a strong message." The message might be "you can make enough running a site like this to pay a $110M" fine, or it might be "even a public index isn't safe from big company legal action, no matter what the law used to say."

Submission + - Reprogrammed bacterium speaks new language of life (

wabrandsma writes: From NewScientist:
A bacterium has had its genome recoded so that the standard language of life no longer applies. Instead, one of its words has been freed up to impart a different meaning, allowing the addition of genetic elements that don't exist in nature.
The work has been described as the first step towards a new biology because the techniques used should open the door to reinventing the meaning of several genetic words simultaneously, potentially creating new types of biomaterials and drugs.

Submission + - Dick Cheney Had Implanted Defibrillator Altered To Prevent Terrorist Attack (

An anonymous reader writes: The Washington Post reports, "Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function. Cheney has a history of heart trouble, suffering the first of five heart attacks at age 37. ... In an interview with CBS’ ”60 Minutes,” Cheney says doctors replaced an implanted defibrillator near his heart in 2007. The device can detect irregular heartbeats and control them with electrical jolts. Cheney says that he and his doctor, cardiologist Jonathan Reiner, turned off the device’s wireless function in case a terrorist tried to send his heart a fatal shock." — More at CBS News.

Submission + - DNA Sequence Withheld From New Botulism Paper

rex.clts writes: In the IT security world, it is common practice to withhold specifics when announcing a newly discovered software vulnerability. The exact details regarding a buffer overflow or race condition are typically kept secret until a patch is available, to slow the proliferation of exploits against the hole. For the first time, this practice has been extended to medical publishing. A new form of Botulism has been identified, but its DNA sequence (the genetic code that makes up the toxin) has been withheld, until an antidote has been found. It seems that censorship in the name of "security" is spreading (with DHS involved this comes as no surprise.) Is this the right move?

Comment Re:saber rallying (Score 0) 213

I am amazed by how utterly paranoid and cynical US citizens have become about their own government, except for the few that are 100% the opposite and equally polarized. While there no doubt the US government has made some bad calls, and maybe even some very bad ones, that's still a far cry from the utter cynicism one often sees here and elsewhere that ignores that many people in government might be attempting to do the right thing, even if they sometimes fail.

Comment Re:Why not... (Score 1) 159

It's the "role" of the Debian (community) to do the best thing for their users, both for the sake of the people at stake and for the heath and promotion of Debian (and UNIX) as a whole. Doing the "right" thing usually involves difficult compromises and judgement calls, and sticking to a strictly hard-line set of ideals is rarely compatible with the messy real world we all live in... that is my experience running a couple of organizations: people make mistakes and their organizations, or superiors, or "family" often need to clean up after/for them, even if it's not technically their job to do so, for the benefit of all concerned.

I think the fight over the name, which caused the name change, was a mistake with consequences that could have been predicted. Even if it's the fault of the sysadmins who messed with their systems, finding a non-intrusive way to help them from getting nailed is in everybody's long term interest (except maybe Microsoft or other non-Linux vendors... and even they want a health Internet). In the worst-case scenario that this domains gets acquired by bad people and users get burned by this, it will make UNIX/Deb look bad, cause harm to various individuals, and potentially even lead to more spam or malware.

Comment Seems fair to me. The sense of entitlement is odd. (Score 1) 541

Seems pretty fair to me: you pay to get a set of services including a transcript, and they are withheld if you don't pay. I think that same rules apply at the Supermarket or the gas station.

The strange thing here is the sense of entitlement that people have regarding their debts. Now, the tuition prices at many US schools to seem crazily high, but the correct solution there is to go to a cheaper school. Of course, education is probably one area where it is definitely not a god idea to focus on the short-term cheap deal, but you do need to keep in mind that the price you pay actually has to be paid, even if a loan is involved.


Submission + - Canada plans removal of protections for fish habitats: scientists p.o.'d (

grouchyDude writes: "A senior Canadian government biologist has leaked proposed changes that would weaken Canada's protection for fish habitats, and thus the environment in general. Over 600 (real) scientists, many with very senior academic credentials, have signed a petition to complain about what they refer to as a highly destructive planned policy. The government responded that existing policies "do not reflect the priorities of Canadians" (what baloney!), but the suspicion is that this is one step in clearing environmental obstacles to the oil sands pipeline. This has gotten very little press and warrants real attention before it's too late."

Feed Google News Sci Tech: James Cameron begins dive to deepest spot on Earth - The Associated Press (

The Associated Press

James Cameron begins dive to deepest spot on Earth
The Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) — Director James Cameron has begun his solo journey to explore a place only two men have gone before — to the Earth's deepest point. The director of "Titanic," ''Avatar" and other films is using a specially designed submarine to descend ...
James Cameron heads to deepest spot on EarthUSA TODAY
Director Cameron starts record-setting Pacific diveAFP
Film director James Cameron heads to deepest spot on Earth nearly 7 miles ... Washington Post
CBS News-National Geographic
all 441 news articles

Submission + - Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged by Computer Chips ( writes: The NYTimes has a piece today which says: "Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city’s education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday." Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr Orwell certainly has warned the world about this.

Comment A joke, right? (Score 1) 50

This is not serious or credible. Building prosthetic devices is a serious challenge with a lot of ergonomic issues. This project and the reportage like some kids building a lego robot and expecting it to revolutionize the automobile industry. Great, they controlled some simple pneumatic with an alpha wave reader: yawn.

How about Dean Kamen's TED talk as a reference point for what's really needed and where this game is at:

Comment Not all conferences are equal (Score 1) 244

Some conferences are good, and some are mostly unfiltered junk. The junk conferences tend to have worse networking, less interesting content, and generally much less value. Good conferences are very important venues for scientific exchange, networking and hunting down new ideas and trends

Low quality conferences can either been more social, local events, or even money grabs by the organizers. I believe CCSC is a local "unfiltered" conference that is a social event, but not a really high-value scientific exchange meeting. Such lower profile meetings can be a useful warmup to bigger events.

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